Emerging market stocks jump with increased trade optimism after Trump's remarks
Emerging market stocks and currencies rose on Wednesday on signs of progress in the U.S.-China trade dispute, after U.S. President Donald Trump said he was open to extending the tariff ceasefire deadline.
Mainland China and Hong Kong shares surged along with most of Asia, helping the MSCI index of developing world stocks rise 0.4 per cent. President Trump said he could let the deadline for a trade agreement between the two countries "slide for a little while" if the two sides were close to a complete deal, although he preferred not to.
"A glimmer of hope as U.S. president Trump hinted that he could let the 1 March tariff deadline slide for a while ... was sufficient to lift financial markets," said OCBC analysts in a note. U.S. tariffs on $200 billion worth of imports from China are scheduled to rise to 25 per cent from 10 per cent if the two sides cannot reach a deal by the deadline.
The tariffs implemented so far have already started to affect corporate earnings across the globe, while the uncertainty about the trade war has sent investors fleeing from riskier assets over the last seven months. However, gains on the MSCI EM stocks benchmark were limited by losses across bourses in Turkey, Russia and South Africa.
In Russia, both dollar and rouble stock index slipped half a per cent, though not far off record highs hit last week, with investors digesting risk of new sanctions. Emerging market currencies firmed against the dollar as the risk-on sentiment spurred inflows into some high yielders of the developing world.
The Chinese yuan climbed 0.2 per cent, while South Africa's rand and the Turkish lira rose more than 0.1 per cent each. Russia's rouble strengthened 0.3 per cent, drawing additional support from oil prices jumping one per cent as Venezuela sanctions start to bite and on deep supply cuts from OPEC.
Hungary's forint extended gains after a rise in the country's core inflation in January revived expectations that the central bank could start tightening monetary policy soon. The Czech crown rose after inflation in January rose more than expected, signalling that a rate hike by the central bank may be in the offing.
(With inputs from agencies.)
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