Emerging market shares climbed to a one-month high on Thursday, mirroring the moves globally after Wall Street’s robust gains, but currencies weakened as the dollar recouped losses and ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting.
The MSCI’s benchmark emerging equity index was up 0.5%. Most Asian stocks traded higher, except China where investors remain concerned over the trade outlook and are awaiting concrete signs of policy support.
However, other emerging markets gained as uncertainty over the U.S. mid-term election lifted. The Democrats won the House of Representatives and President Donald Trump’s Republicans held the Senate in Tuesday’s vote, pointing to a gridlocked Congress.
But while that means policy might be harder to push through, analysts said the outlook for emerging markets depended on how much Trump and the Democrats see eye to eye on policy.
“Investors in EM will have to stay very tuned to news coming out of the U.S. and the co-operation between Trump and Congress,” said Per Hammarlund, chief emerging market strategist at SEB.
“It depends on how Trump plays his cards with China and on how he can compromise with the Democrats regarding tax cuts and the budget.”
Most emerging market currencies fell as the dollar pulled away from two and a half week lows hit on Wednesday after the midterm elections and ahead of a Federal Reserve meeting. The Fed is expected to hold fire at Thursday’s meeting and signal a next rate hike in December.
“If it plays out the way we expect, it’s going to have a very small impact on emerging markets this time around given that it highly anticipated that they (rates) will stay on hold,” said Hammarlund.
The Turkish lira fell for the third straight session, with Hammarlund attributing the weakness to Turkey’s large refinancing needs.
“They need to roll over a significant amount of debt and when the U.S. rates go up, the cost of refinancing those loans in dollars will increase and that hurts the lira,” he said.
South Africa’s rand snapped a five-session winning streak, with stocks also weakened.
Russia’s rouble was among the few currencies that firmed, helped by higher oil prices, which also pushed stocks higher.
The forint hit a 3-month high against the euro after an unexpected rise in Hungarian inflation towards the top of the central bank’s target range of 2-4%.