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EM-Stocks Hit 3-Week Lows Led by HK Shares

Feb 24 (Reuters) - Emerging market shares slid to three-week lows on Wednesday, led by 3% drop in Hong Kong shares, while South Africa’s rand slipped ahead of a budget speech later in the day.

In line with stocks across the globe, an index of developing market shares slipped 1.3% as heavyweight mainland China shares fell around 2%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index posted its worst session in nine months as exchange operator HKEX sank after the city, a global financial hub, announced it would increase the stamp duty on stock trading.

As U.S. Treasury yields stayed near recent highs, and concerns about a future trend higher in inflation weighed, risk assets were moved to the back burner.

South Africa’s rand fell 0.4% with investors eyeing Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s budget speech at 1200 GMT. Analysts do not see the budget offering any significant fiscal consolidation beyond what was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa recently, with any surprises expected to be positive.

A Reuters poll had shown South Africa’s fiscal deficit narrowing this year because of an economic rebound, but the long-term trend of higher debt remains unchanged due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The fiscal risks will continue to put pressure on the rand and entail downside risks for the rand in particular in case of rising risk aversion,” said Commerzbank’s FX and EM analyst Elisabeth Andreae.

Turkey’s lira reversed early losses to slip 0.2% against the dollar to three-week lows. That was after the central bank said it had raised the reserve requirement ratio by 200 basis points for lira deposits to improve the effectiveness of its monetary policy transmission.

Russia’s rouble firmed 0.6% in the interbank market and broke a five-session losing streak on the local exchange on returning from a day’s holiday.

With oil prices declining, the European Union’s plan to impose limited sanctions in response to the jailing of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny provided some relief.

In Brazil, shares of oil major Petrobras were expected to continue their rally after a 22% slide on Monday, as indicated by an 8% rise in Frankfurt-listed shares.

Eletrobras’ Frankfurt shares jumped nearly 11% after Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro delivered the power utility’s privatization measure to Congress overnight.

In Sri Lanka, the rupee rose after the central bank governor said the country is committed to meeting its debt servicing obligations and is in talks with some foreign governments and multilateral institutions on its finances.

Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Catherine Evans

Source: Reuters


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