EMERGING MARKETS-Fed, virus woes keep lid on currencies, locals lift Turkish lira

PUBLISHED: Tue, 27 Apr 2021 10:12:50 GMT

* Turkey imposes nationwide lockdown from Thursday

* Lira gains 0.6% on local support

* Hungary rate decision at 1200 GMT – no changes expected

* Russian stocks at record highs on higher oil prices

By Shashank Nayar

April 27 (Reuters) – Caution ahead of a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting and a jump in virus numbers weighed on emerging currencies on Tuesday, although Turkey’s lira strengthened for a second session, shrugging off a freshly imposed lockdown.

The dollar near multi-week lows versus major peers and subdued U.S. Treasury yields ahead of the Fed’s policy decision on Wednesday did little to cheer emerging assets, with both currency and stock indexes treading water.

“The pandemic is raging across several major EMs such as India, Turkey, and Brazil, and the vaccine rollout is still sluggish,” analysts at BCA said in a note to clients.

Turkey’s lira gained 0.6% against the dollar in early trade, making it an outlier among developing currencies, after rebounding 1.5% on Monday from near an all-time low as locals took advantage of recent weakness to sell dollars. l

Six traders told Reuters on Monday they had not seen any moves outside market norms, adding that any forex sales by state banks were probably for tax payments at the end of the month and not reserve sales on behalf of the central bank.

“We aren’t seeing any reserve sales or such practices. Those stopped 10 days prior to (former central bank chief Naci) Agbal’s appointment,” one trader said on Tuesday. President Tayyip Erdogan sacked Agbal in March, less than five months after appointing him, rocking Turkish assets.

The move higher came even after Erdogan announced a nationwide “full lockdown” starting on Thursday and lasting until May 17 to curb a surge in coronavirus infections. nL8N2MJ5P4]

China’s yuan , South Africa’s rand and Russia’s rouble all softened, the latter unfazed by a rebound in crude oil prices ahead of a meeting of producer group OPEC+ to discuss output policy.

In central Europe, most currencies fell against the euro, with Hungary’s forint down 0.1% ahead of a central bank rate decision later in the day and the Polish zloty and Czech crown both trading lower by 0.2%.

“Hungary imposed a fresh lockdown in early March, the inflation-boosting effects of which could materialise in April and May and in any case, present monetary policy is widely viewed to be adequate, if not excessive,” analysts at Commerzbank said.

A Reuters poll showed Hungary’s central bank was likely to leave interest rates unchanged before an expected spike in inflation which the bank considers temporary but has said it will closely monitor for any possible second-round effects.

In stocks, Russia’s benchmark MOEX stock index climbed to a fresh record high, helped by higher oil prices.

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

For TOP NEWS across emerging markets

For CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see

For TURKISH market report, see

For RUSSIAN market report, see

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(Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Nevzat Devranoglu in Ankara, graphic by Marc Jones, writing by Karin Strohecker in London, Editing by Catherine Evans)

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