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EMEA Tracks Asia Higher as Stimulus Measures Boost Mood

  • BoJ stimulus measures boost risk appetite slightly
  • EM stocks fare better than currencies
  • Turkish stocks at more than 1-month high

April 27 (Reuters) - Emerging markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa edged up on Monday, tracking their Asian peers higher after more stimulus measures in the developed world prompted some buying into riskier assets.

Most stocks and currencies still stuck to the tight intraday ranges seen over the past few weeks, as markets looked for tangible signs of progress against the coronavirus outbreak.

The MSCI’s index of emerging market stocks has stayed in a range of 880 to 900 for nearly three weeks, with trade mostly taking place in reaction to news on the virus.

The index rose about 1.6% on the day, bolstered by the Bank of Japan pledging to buy unlimited bonds, while markets bet on further measures from other major economies. The U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank are set to meet later in the week.

Emerging market stocks have fared far better than currencies, given that safe-haven demand for the U.S. dollar prompted vast outflows from the foreign exchange space. Interest rate cuts by central banks have also made their currencies less attractive.

“There is a limit to what central banks can do. Economic downturns are normally caused by imbalances, and central banks help to resolve those imbalances,” Paul Donovan, Chief Economist of UBS Global Wealth Management, said.

“This is not the case today. The downturn is policy-driven, and central bank policy plays a very junior role to fiscal policy.”

The MSCI’s index of developing world currencies rose slightly for the day, but was barely above lows hit during the initial rout caused by the pandemic.

Central European currencies, such as the Hungarian forint edged up against the dollar, as did the Swedish krona . Markets are holding out for euro zone economies to deliver a joint rescue package for countries hit by the virus.

Russia’s rouble fell slightly, while stocks rose nearly 1% after the country’s central bank cut interest rates on Friday and promised more cuts to support the economy, which it sees shrinking by up to 6% this year.

A crash in oil prices, which saw U.S. crude futures dip into negative territory last week, also pressured the rouble.

Turkey’s lira traded flat, while stocks rose about 1.8% to their highest since early-March. The country still faces growing economic risks as a result of the virus, as data on Friday showed factories slowing.

South African markets were closed for a holiday.

Source: Reuters

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