EMERGING MARKETS-EMEA FX rises on stimulus hopes, stocks near record high

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
EMERGING MARKETS-EMEA FX rises on stimulus hopes, stocks near record high
Credit: © Reuters.

* Rouble gains limited by political concerns

* South African rand rises on J&J vaccine plans

* Turkish lira retreats from six-month high

By Ambar Warrick

Feb 9 (Reuters) - Most emerging market currencies strengthened on Tuesday and stocks neared record highs as investors weighed the effects of a prospective $1.9 trillion U.S. stimulus package on bond yields and the dollar.

South Africa's rand ZAR= and Russia's rouble RUB= led gains across currencies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

But gains were limited, as the prospect of higher U.S. fiscal spending could push up treasury yields and drive money away from emerging market debt and currencies.

The dollar retreated as investors showed more doubts about the pace of an economic recovery in the United States. USD/

"The globally low interest rate environment supports EM currencies. Rising inflation expectations in the U.S. and rising U.S. yields on the other hand are negative," You-Na Park-Heger, foreign exchange and emerging market analyst at Commerzbank (DE: CBKG ) wrote.

"There is not just uncertainty as to whether the package entails risks of overheating but also as to how the Fed would react ... whereas high inflation puts pressure on the dollar the Fed's proactive measures would support the dollar."

Emerging market stocks .MSCIEF , which stand to benefit the most from increased global liquidity, rose 0.3% and were trading just below a record high. Most EMEA stocks also gained.

Stocks have by far gained the most from a risk-driven rally this year, even outperforming their developed world peers on expectations that steady vaccination campaigns and stimulus will enable a strong economic recovery this year.

The rouble was set to rise for a fifth consecutive day, hitting an more than two-week high on a spike in oil prices. Investors were also pricing in a possible interest rate hike by the central bank this Friday.

Reuters reported that Russian authorities were considering a new social spending package worth at least $6.7 billion to address discontent over falling living standards before an autumn election. concerns about political unrest in the country, caused by the jailing of a prominent Kremlin critic, kept gains in the rouble subdued. Russian stocks .IMOEX fell slightly.

Turkey's lira TRY= dropped 0.8% from a six-month high as investors paused a recent buying streak.

The Turkish central bank has vowed to keep monetary policy tight until inflation is contained, but its measures to rebuild depleted foreign exchange reserves will be a point of focus.

Turkish stocks .XU100 rose 0.8%.

South Africa's rand ZAR= rose 0.5%, as the country looked to start a vaccination campaign with Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ )'s COVID-19 vaccine after data showed AstraZeneca's shot offered minimal protection against mild-to-moderate illness from the dominant local virus variant. central European currencies dropped against the euro, but rose slightly to the dollar.

For GRAPHIC on emerging market FX performance in 2021, see http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging index performance in 2021, see https://tmsnrt.rs/2OusNdX

For TOP NEWS across emerging markets CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see CEE/

For TURKISH market report, see .IS

For RUSSIAN market report, see RU/RUB

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