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TRY Steadies near Recent Highs, Czech Rate Decision Awaited

  • Turkish lira up about 30% this week
  • Czech rate decision awaited
  • Stocks extend rebound for second day

Dec 22 (Reuters) - The Turkish lira steadied on Wednesday after a sharp rally this week on the back of new government measures to stabilise the currency, while sentiment towards emerging market currencies and stocks remained largely buoyant despite growing Omicron risks.

Markets were sanguine as investors awaited an interest rate decision from the Czech central bank later in the day, with the crown hovering near a six-week high versus the euro.

Analysts expect the central bank to raise its key two-week repo rate by 75 basis points to 3.50% and continue tightening in early 2022, according to a Reuters poll, following a 125-basis-point hike in November.

Central banks in both developed and developing world have turned to tighter monetary policies recently to rein in surging inflation as the global economy recovers from drastic pandemic-driven lockdowns last year.

There was some relief for the lira, which has shot up about 30% this week after President Tayyip Erdogan laid out measures earlier this week to guard local currency savings against currency fluctuations. 

"Although the announcement had a notable impact on the Lira and may contribute to easing the concerns of depositors, the measures do not address the fundamental reason for the depreciation of the currency and rising inflation," Goldman Sachs analysts said in a recent note.

The lira was steady at 12.5 per dollar after hitting a record low of 18.4 and strengthening to one-month high of 11.09 - all in a span of two days.

Fears about renewed economic restrictions, troubles in China's property sector, the lira's collapse and a strong dollar have all weighed on emerging market assets, making them a laggard among asset classes this year. 

The MSCI's EM currency index is up about 0.3% so far this year, while its equities counterpart is down 6.2%.

The stocks index edged up 0.6%, extending a rebound for a second day as investors brushed aside worried about the Omicron coronavirus variant that has brought several countries under lockdowns and hampered travel.

Debt-ridden China Evergrande Group said that its risk management committee would actively engage with its creditors.

China's real estate sector hit two-month highs on Tuesday amid growing signs of government support as Beijing sought to prevent a contagion from financial woes at Evergrande other heavily indebted developers.

While Chinese stocks closed nearly flat, stock markets in Russia, South Africa and eastern Europe, all rose between 0.4% and 1%.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V

Source: Reuters

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