* Recovery optimism dents safe-haven dollar
* Russian rouble hits 6-week highs, but gains limited
* EM stocks extend rally for 8th session running
By Susan Mathew
Feb 16 (Reuters) – The Turkish lira scaled over six-month highs on Tuesday amid hopes of tighter monetary policy, while Russia’s rouble was bolstered by rising oil prices.
Vaccine rollouts and hopes of more stimulus kept up appetite for risk, denting the safe-haven dollar.
Stocks in the developing world scaled new highs, rising for the 11th session in 12 and marking their longest winning streak since June last year.
Ahead of a central bank rate decision meeting on Thursday, Turkey’s lira firmed 0.5%. The bank is expected to keep rate unchanged at 17%.
Turkey’s annual inflation climbed more than expected to some 15% last month and central bank governor Naci Agbal said a possible rate cut will not be on agenda for a long time this year. The bank held rates in January after hiking it by 675 basis points since November.
“From a nominal rate perspective, Turkey does look more attractive compared to other emerging markets because interest rates are already so high,” said Cristian Maggio, head of emerging market strategy at TD Securities.
“Turkish inflation is also higher than South Africa and Russia, so real rates in Turkey also stand out, but not as much as nominal rates,” he said. “So, if the dollar continues on its weakening path, then markets will look at Turkey with interest because it’s a very attractive carry trade.”
Crude exporter Russia’s rouble hit its highest in six weeks as oil prices rose after a cold front shut wells and refineries in Texas, the biggest crude producing state in the United States, slimming supply.
Gains in the currency were limited, however, as investors kept an eye out for sanctions after threats of the same by Western countries over the arrest of Kremlin critc Alexei Navalny.
Maggio also points to a weakening correlation between oil prices and the rouble.
“Historically and even today Russia is an oil-dependent economy, but it is less so today than in the past. As this diversification out of the hydrocarbons sector continues, you will see an increasing decoupling of the rouble from the normal oil price dynamics.”
The Polish zloty was flat against a steady euro. Poland’s central bank could intervene in the currency markets to keep the rising zloty in check, bank Vice President Marta Kightley said on Monday. The currency is up about 1.8% so far this year and was last at 4.48 against the euro. For GRAPHIC on emerging market FX performance 2020, see http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging index performance 2020, see https://tmsnrt.rs/2OusNdX
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(Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Nick Macfie)
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