EMERGING MARKETS-Property sector weighs on China stocks; lira rallies
Property and technology stocks led losses in China on Tuesday but gains in most other bourses sent an index of emerging market (EM) shares closer to one-month highs, while Turkey's lira firmed 1.5% after sliding to record lows.
China's real estate indexes fell 2.8% and 4.5% after property developer Modern Land defaulted on a payment, and as the sector digested Beijing's decision to roll out a pilot real estate tax in some regions. "The Modern Land missed debt payment has seen property sector nerves return to China markets," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst, Asia Pacific at OANDA.
"Evergrande, the center of the China property storm, has another grace period payment due this week on 29 October, and nerves will be taut until it does, or does not, make payment." Mainland China shares lost around 0.3%, while Hong Kong's main index slipped 0.4% as losses in big technology names such as Tencent, Alibaba, and Meituan also weighed.
Most other EM Asian indexes gained between 0.2% and 0.9% and those in Turkey and South Africa gained 1% and 0.4%, on some friendly tones between the United States and China about bilateral relations, as well as upbeat earnings on Wall Street. MSCI's index of EM shares was up 0.2%. But keeping sentiment in check were rising COVID-19 cases and familiar fears of containment measures denting economic growth.
Beijing stepped up curbs, Moscow is set to introduce its tightest lockdown measures since June 2020, while tougher restrictions came into force in some eastern European countries as cases surge. Turkey's lira rallied after stumbling to an all-time low of around 9.8 to the dollar on Monday, as President Tayyip Erdogan backed away from escalating diplomatic tensions with the West.
The lira is down more than 20% this year, thanks to worries about monetary policy, geopolitics, and depleting foreign exchange reserves. South Africa's rand lost 0.1% to trade 14.72 per dollar. State power utility Eskom said it was extending scheduled power cuts until Saturday. Eskom's regular outages due to capacity issues have held back economic growth in Africa's most industrialized nation.
"After last week's late rally the USD/ZAR has found resistance at the 14.85/dollar mark. This level is pretty much the center of a short-term range for the (pair)," said Shaun Murison, senior market analyst at online trading provider IG. South Africa's central bank composite leading business cycle indicator rose 0.7% month on month in August thanks to more vehicle sales and job adverts, data showed on Tuesday.
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