FX hit by U.S. inflation, Turkish lira drops before rate decision

PUBLISHED: Wed, 14 Jul 2021 11:05:22 GMT
Ambar Warrick
Reuters
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Key Points
  • Turkish central bank expected to hold main rate at 19%
  • South African rand at three-month low as unrest continues
  • Czech crown down but tighter policy expected to support
In this article

    July 14 (Reuters) – Emerging market stocks and currencies fell on Wednesday after a surge in U.S. inflation raised fears the Federal Reserve might tighten policy sooner than expected, while Turkey’s lira dipped ahead of an interest rate decision.

    U.S. consumer prices surged at their fastest pace in 13 years in June, sending the dollar and Treasury yields higher as markets bet that the Fed would raise rates by the end of 2022.

    MSCI’s index of emerging market currencies fell 0.2% while stocks retreated 0.3%. A rise in U.S. lending rates usually makes risk-driven assets appear less attractive and drives capital out of emerging markets.

    In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Turkey’s lira fell 0.2% to 8.6373 ahead of an interest rate decision, with the central bank expected to maintain rates at 19% amid spiking inflation in the country.

    The lira is the worst performing emerging market currency this year, down nearly 16% on government interference in policy making. Analysts are doubtful about the lira’s prospects, despite a sharp rebound in growth from the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “We are quite cautious about Turkey’s macroeconomic imbalances and uncertain policy outlook with respect to the central bank, but this does not mean that we do not expect a punchy activity rebound in the near term,” Tatha Ghose, FX and EM analyst at Commerzbank wrote in a note.

    However, Ghose said growth would take a severe downturn in 2022 as Turkey’s “unconventional monetary policy experiment unravels”.

    Credit Suisse had said in a note last week that tighter policy was needed to rein in runaway inflation.

    Turkish stocks rose 1% on reports that the country expanded regulations for asset management firms, allowing for more flexibility in debt transfers.

    South Africa’s rand dropped 0.2% to a new three-month low of 14.7648 to the dollar, with violence in the country showing little sign of stopping.

    The rand tumbled 3.9% over the past two sessions, turning negative for the year, as violence over the jailing of former president Jacob Zuma killed more than 70 people, wrecked several businesses and even shut down the country’s largest refinery.

    The Czech crown fell 0.2% versus the euro, faring slightly better than its peers in Central Europe as rising inflation and comments from central bank officials suggested more monetary policy tightening was on the way.

    Specialist emerging market asset manager Ashmore Group said its quarterly assets under management rose by $4.5 billion, reflecting some improvement in sentiment towards emerging markets during the second quarter.

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    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

    (Reporting by Ambar Warrick; Editing by David Clarke)

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