Emerging stocks head for worst week since Feb, Indian rupee drops on RBI surprise

US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell said on Wednesday that interest rates would continue rising for some time and may have to move past their ‘neutral’ level. — Reuters pic
US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell said on Wednesday that interest rates would continue rising for some time and may have to move past their ‘neutral’ level. — Reuters pic

NEW YORK, Oct 5 ― Emerging market stocks were headed today for their worst weekly losses since early February, while a rise in US Treasury yields to seven-year highs kept a lid on emerging market currencies before US jobs data are released.

Signs that the US economy is forging ahead even as developing countries struggle with local currency crises, trade disputes and political problems have encouraged investors to dump emerging market assets this year.

The 10-year US Treasury yield held near a seven-year high as markets braced for a report today that is expected to show another solid month for US non-farm payrolls in September.

US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell said on Wednesday that interest rates would continue rising for some time and may have to move past their “neutral” level.



“If the US data comes in stronger, markets would speculate (about) more and faster , especially after Powell’s speech this week,” said Per Hammarlund, chief EM strategist at SEB. “That could weigh on EM if it comes in higher.”

India’s rupee sank after the kept interest rates unchanged, surprising most analysts who had expected policy makers to hike to combat inflationary pressure from rising oil prices and a weakening rupee.

The rupee fell about 0.7 per cent in the minutes after the decision, hitting an all-time low of 74.125 per dollar.

“The unchanged decision suggests that the RBI is not overly concerned about rupee depreciation,” Mitul Kotecha, a senior emerging markets strategist with TD Securities, wrote in a note, adding the currency could stay above the 74 to the dollar level.

To fight rising fuel costs, the government on Thursday cut prices of gasoline and diesel, sending shares of energy companies like Reliance Industries tumbling.

The MSCI index for emerging stocks fell by 0.73 per cent, putting it on track for a 4 per cent weekly loss, its worst since early February.

Stocks in Hong Kong, Russia and Turkey all declined and were on track to post weekly losses.

“Despite the recent EM stabilisation, we recommend resisting the instinct to ‘buy the dip’,” Barclays analysts wrote in a note. “We do not believe that the elements that warrant a more cautious approach towards EM have dissipated.”



South Africa’s Top 40 index fell over 1 per cent, dragged down by losses for MTN Group after a Bloomberg report that Nigeria was seeking to charge 15 per cent interest on an US$8 billion (RM33.2 billion) claim against the telecoms group.

The South African rand firmed after President Cyril Ramaphosa said 275,000 more jobs a year would be created by plans to reduce sky-high unemployment and lift growth .

Russia’s rouble also recovered from losses stemming from accusations by Western countries of cyber attacks. ― Reuters

Source: The Malay Mail Online





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