Emerging market stocks fall as investors tread cautiously over G20
Emerging market shares fell on Friday, backtracking from an upward trend for the past month as investors took a cautious stance ahead of high-stakes U.S.-China trade talks over the weekend, with most currencies weakening against a firmer dollar.
Chinese stocks bucked the broader trend, shrugging off data that showed growth in the country's manufacturing sector stalled for the first time in more than two years, but in thin trading ahead of the G20 Summit.
Market sentiment through November has been largely driven by the forthcoming meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, to be held on Dec. 1 as part of the G20 summit in Argentina, with investors pinning hopes on a reduction in trade tensions.
"A trade deal between China and the U.S. is not a sure thing and Trump himself has alluded to this fact ... but there is hope for some sort of truce that would de-escalate the trade war," Maybank analysts said in a note.
If the two sides fail to reach any deal, from January Chinese goods worth $200 billion will face higher tariffs when entering the United States, including key consumer items like Apple's iPhone and Macbook.
MSCI's index for emerging market stocks snapped a four-day winning streak on Friday, falling 0.3 percent, with indexes in South Korea, Turkey and South Africa all losing between 0.3 percent and 0.8 percent.
Still, the index is on track to post its best monthly performance since January 2018.
Most emerging currencies inched lower against a firmer dollar on Friday, even as minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's last policy meeting reinforced Chairman Jerome Powell's recent dovish comments that U.S. interest rates are close to a so-called neutral level.
The Russian rouble fell 0.5 percent, paring the previous day's gains after Trump cancelled a planned meeting with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, citing Moscow's escalation of tensions with Kiev.
The Korean won dropped 0.4 percent, leading decliners in Asia. The country's central bank raised interest rates for the first time in a year, in a widely expected move aimed mainly at containing a boom in parts of the country's property market.
The Turkish lira, flat on the day, was on course for a three-week gain, after data showed Turkey's trade deficit narrowed in October, reaching its lowest monthly level since 2001, while the number of foreign visitor arrivals surged 25.5 percent year-on-year.
The Turkish central bank said risks to financial stability posed by multiple shocks had been mitigated by monetary policy actions and coordinated policy measures.
The lira's losses have eased in the recent months, with the currency down about 27 percent this year.
In eastern Europe, the Hungarian forint fell against the euro. Data showed industrial producer price inflation was 6.4 percent in annual terms in October, after a 6.7 percent reading in September, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said, citing wage increases, a rise in the oil price, and the weakening of the currency.
Overall, November has been the best month since January for the MSCI emerging market currency index, which has lost about 4 percent this year. For GRAPHIC on emerging market FX performance 2018, see http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging index performance 2018, see https://tmsnrt.rs/2OusNdX
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(With inputs from agencies.)