EMERGING MARKETS-Currencies gain ahead of holidays as dollar loses strength

PUBLISHED: Wed, 23 Dec 2020 09:49:03 GMT
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* Markets look past Trump threats to amend stimulus bill

* Rouble snaps 3-day losing run

* Lira firms on rate hike expectations

By Shashank Nayar

Dec 23 (Reuters) – Emerging market currencies rebounded on Wednesday from declines earlier this week, with Russia’s rouble snapping a three-day losing run and the Turkish lira firming in hopes of a central bank rate hike this week.

The rouble gained 0.8%, shrugging off a decline in oil prices as the U.S. dollar weakened against its major peers.

The currency had touched a three-week low earlier this week, driven by a selloff in global markets on worries about a highly infectious new variant of coronavirus that broke out in Britain and anti-Russian sanctions.

Markets broadly looked past U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat on Tuesday to not sign an $892 billion coronavirus relief bill that includes desperately needed money for individual Americans, saying it should be amended to increase the amount in the stimulus checks.

“The market reaction reflects the belief that the bill will be amended and signed in a couple of weeks,” said Hussein Sayed, a strategist at FXTM.

Turkish lira firmed 0.4%, as investors awaited the outcome of a central bank meeting on Thursday.

Turkey’s central bank is expected to raise its key interest rate by 150 basis points, a Reuters poll showed, as it aims to cool inflation and bolster credibility under new governor Naci Agbal.

The South African rand rose 0.2% after getting hammered this week, as countries around the world closed their borders to South Africa following their identification of a mutated variant of the coronavirus.

Central European currencies were adrift against the euro, with Hungary’s forint and Poland’s zloty down 0.1% on uncertainty around the Brexit trade deal.

Britain’s ITV said a Brexit trade deal between the United Kingdom and the European Union is possible later in the day, after progress in talks on fishing rights.

Israel will hold a snap election in March after parliament failed on Tuesday to meet a deadline to pass a budget, triggering a ballot presenting new challenges for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

However, the shekel shrugged off the news that the country will face the fourth parliamentary election in two years with the currency gaining 0.2% against the dollar.

For GRAPHIC on emerging market FX performance in 2020, see http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging index performance in 2020, see https://tmsnrt.rs/2OusNdX

For TOP NEWS across emerging markets

For CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see

For TURKISH market report, see

For RUSSIAN market report, see (Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2020. Click For Restrictions – https://agency.reuters.com/en/copyright.html

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