Economic news

EM-FX Goes Off Record High, Stocks Down Amid Inflation Fears

May 11 (Reuters) - Most emerging market currencies and stocks on Tuesday eased from recent highs as investors braced for a possible spike in U.S. inflation, while the Turkish lira led losses after its current account deficit widened in March.

A slight uptick in the dollar dragged MSCI’s index of emerging market currencies down 0.3% from record highs. Stocks were set for their worst day in six weeks, trading nearly 1.5% lower.

The dollar index hovered near multi-month lows with lofty commodity prices lending support to exporters’ currencies.

But given recent strength in the U.S. economy, coupled with continued liquidity measures by the Federal Reserve, investors were looking at the possibility of a substantially higher-than-expected inflation reading on Wednesday.

“Consumer price data for April will be reasonably high tomorrow as expected as the effects of the pandemic will now be fully reflected,” Antje Praefcke, an analyst at Commerzbank, said.

“Higher commodity prices might begin to affect the producer and consumer prices and the dollar might find some short-term support tomorrow, if the consumer prices surprise notably on the upside.”

While the U.S. labour market has a long road to recovery, investors fear a spike in inflation could push the Fed into bringing forward policy tapering.

Turkey’s lira weakened 0.4%, the most among currencies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, after the country’s current account deficit in March widened to $3.329 billion.

Still, a forecast-beating 16.6% year-on-year gain in industrial output in March capped further losses in the lira.

South Africa’s rand was subdued ahead of local manufacturing data, while Russia’s rouble firmed 0.1%, tracking a recent gain in oil prices, even though crude came back a bit on Tuesday.

Most Central European currencies were subdued against the euro with Hungary’s forint, Poland’s zloty and the Czech crown trading almost flat.

Hungary’s headline inflation shot up to its highest since 2012 in April, hitting a year-on-year rate of 5.1%, data showed, while the Czech Republic also saw a stronger-than-expected jump. But only the Czech central bank is expected to hike interest rates this year.

In Poland, the building of the Supreme Court was evacuated due to a bomb threat, the day its Civil Chamber is due to issue highly anticipated guidance on Swiss franc mortgages.

(Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru)

Source: Reuters


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