* High U.S. yields support dollar
* South African rand, Turkish lira lead EMEA losses
* Russia’s rouble pressured by oil weakness
By Ambar Warrick
Jan 11 (Reuters) – Emerging market stocks hit a record high on Monday, while currencies in Europe, Middle East and Africa were pressured by a dollar rebound on renewed coronavirus fears and a spike in U.S. treasury yields.
The MSCI’s index of EM equities rose more than 0.2%. Expectations of increased U.S. stimulus and accommodative monetary policy outlook in the mid-term has pushed investors into equities.
But in currency markets, traders were concerned that a new variant of the coronavirus, discovered in Europe and Africa, could prompt another wave of lockdowns and disrupt the global economic recovery. A second wave of global infections also kept sentiment subdued.
Adding further pressure, the dollar continued to recover from 2018 lows as expectations of increased U.S. debt issuance to finance President-elect Joe Biden’s stimulus agenda pushed up longer-term treasury yields.
“(It’s) the combination of a possible larger fiscal package and the impact on growth and inflation – the Fed is now negative for emerging markets, because the real yields are going up in the U.S. and the dollar is strengthening because of that,” said Jakob Christensen, chief analyst and head of EM research at Danske Bank.
“More fiscal spending is good for growth, but we’re seeing the possibility of Fed hikes being moved forward, even though it’s far out in the future, it’s nevertheless happening.”
Increased U.S. lending rates benefit the dollar and usually prompt capital flows out of emerging markets.
South Africa’s rand was among the top percentage losers in the EMEA region, falling more than 1% after shedding over 4% last week.
The currency hit its lowest to the dollar since late-November as record-high infection rates brewed fears of renewed lockdown measures. The discovery of a locally originating variant of the coronavirus also dented sentiment.
Turkey’s lira sank more than 1% after data showed the country’s current account deficit surged more than expected in November, while employment dropped as economic ructions from the pandemic continued.
Russia’s rouble dropped 0.9% as oil prices fell due to renewed concerns over fuel demand, in the wake of increasing global infections and lockdowns in most of Europe.
Asian currencies also came under pressure as rising coronavirus cases in China rattled regional sentiment.
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
For TURKISH market report, see
For RUSSIAN market report, see (Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)
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