* Turkish lira recovers from worst day in two weeks
* S. Africa rand holds near Feb 2019 highs
* Russian rouble hovers at two-month top
* Belarusian rouble lags
By Susan Mathew
May 26 (Reuters) – An index of emerging market currencies touched all-time highs on Wednesday as the dollar languished at near five-month lows, although the Belarusian rouble lagged amid tensions with the West.
Turkey’s lira staged a modest recovery after the replacement of yet another central banker saw it post its worst day in two weeks on Tuesday, while South Africa’s rand held near highs last seen more than two-years ago.
The dollar remained close to five-month lows as easing inflation worries prompted investors to seek returns from higher yielders.
“The continual commentary from (U.S. Federal Reserve) officials reinforcing the current Fed accommodative policy is pushing U.S. yields lower, keeping the dollar on the back foot, and helping risk appetite,” said Andre Cilliers, currency strategist at TreasuryONE.
Russia’s rouble rose 0.14%, hovering close to mid-March highs. Leaders of Russia and the United States will meet in Geneva on June 16, the nations said on Tuesday, amid sharp disputes over election interference, cyber atttacks, human rights and Ukraine.
Both countries, however, have lowered expectations for breakthroughs, with neither in a mood to make concessions on their many disagreements.
Meanwhile, a Reuters poll showed expectations Russia’s stock market would hit 3,819 to notch a record high by year-end thanks to a recovery in commodity prices and still-low interest rates globally. The MOEX index was last trading at 3,703.09 after touching a new high of 3,717.33 earlier in the session.
MSCI’s index of EM stocks extended gains for a second straight session to climb to a 16 day high with tech stocks showing healthy gains.
In Belarus, the rouble fell 0.1% against the greenback as airlines re-routed flights to avoid the country’s airspace and Belarusian planes faced a possible ban from Europe, with international outrage mounting over Minsk forcing down a jetliner and arresting a dissident journalist on board.
The currency is up about 4% this year after plunging 19% last year after the disputed election of Alexander Lukashenko roiled markets – its worst yearly performance since 2015.
For GRAPHIC on emerging market FX performance in 2021, see http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging index performance in 2021, see https://tmsnrt.rs/2OusNdX
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For CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see
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(Additional reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo in Johannesburg)
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