Dollar Weakness Supports EM Currencies, Lira Slides Again

U.S. dollar weakness lifted most emerging market currencies on Tuesday as investors looked to U.S. politics and progress on COVID-19 vaccines, but the Turkish lira came under renewed pressure.

The South African rand and the Russian rouble extended this week’s winning run, while the lira fell almost 1.5% to trade at 7.9899 per dollar, its weakest since Nov. 11.

After a strong rally in the wake of a bumper interest rate hike last week, the Turkish currency languished again as new coronavirus restrictions began and investors look for signs of sustained central bank support.

“The pair returned back to the 7.90 area, suggesting that investors share our continued skepticism concerning a sustainable TRY appreciation over the medium term, given the economic and political impasse at home,” analysts at UniCredit said in a note.

The Turkish banking index, however, jumped over 2% after a regulator said that it had decided to halt the calculation of banks’ asset ratios from the end of the year as part of normalisation steps.

The MSCI’s index of EM equities clung to a fresh 32-month high hit in the previous session. Bourses in Moscow , Istanbul and Johannesburg rose between 0.3% and 0.9%, with Moscow aided by a jump in oil prices.

Most Asian stock markets were subdued, although India’s Nifty 50 hit a record high, topping 13,000 for the first time.

Markets globally took heart from signs of progress in the development of coronavirus vaccines, while a formal transition approval for U.S. President-elect Joe Biden added to the upbeat mood.

The Polish zloty also made ground against the dollar, rising 0.3%. However, it and other east European currencies such as the Hungarian forint and the Czech crown traded in tight ranges against the euro.

Highlighting the demand for emerging market debt during the pandemic, the world’s no.2 copper producer Peru said investors had soaked up its offer of $4 billion worth of debt, including a rare century bond.

Meanwhile, Ivory Coast launched the first sub-Saharan Africa pandemic-era Eurobond sale. Initial pricing for the west African country’s euro-denominated bond maturing in 2032 stood at 5.5%, according to a lead banker.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

Source: Reuters

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