May 10 (Reuters) – Emerging market currencies were subdued on Wednesday, with investors cautious ahead of U.S. consumer price data that could pare bets that Federal Reserve rates are near a peak while the Hungarian forint rose after inflation slowed for a third month.
The MSCI’s index for emerging market currencies .MIEM00000CUS was flat at 0825 GMT.
April U.S. consumer price data is due at 1230 GMT and economists expect the headline CPI to hold steady at an annual 5% and core CPI to moderate very slightly to 5.5%, though anything stickier could confound bets of interest rates cuts in the world’s largest economy.
“A softer-than-expected CPI report should further fuel the Fed rate cut expectations into this fall and relieve a part of the positive pressure on U.S. yields, whereas a stronger-than-expected read will hardly boost any hawkish bets at this stage,” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote Bank.
Meanwhile, Hungary’s forint EURHUF= inched 0.2% up against the euro, leading gains among regional peers.
Inflation in Hungary slowed for a third straight month in April, with the headline rate falling a touch more than expected to 24.0%, potentially giving the central bank scope to pursue interest rate cuts.
The Polish zloty EURPLN= edged 0.1% higher against the euro, as investors awaited its interest rate decision later in the day.
Pakistan’s rupee PKR= fell to 288.5 per dollar to hit a record low amid political turmoil a day after former prime minister Imran Khan was arrested by the anti-corruption agency in Islamabad.
Russia’s roubleRUBUTSTN=MCX strengthened to 77.2050 against the dollar, pulling further away from one-year lows hit at the end of April.
In Egypt, consumer inflation in April slowed to 30.6% from 32.7% in March, lower than analysts had expected.
South Africa’s rand shed 0.5% against the greenback, extending sharp losses from the previous session. South Africa’s international bonds also came under fresh pressure as fears grew of scheduled blackouts known as loadshedding worsening over winter.
Emerging market stocks .MSCIEF fell 0.4%, with China and Hong Kong stocks extending losses after disappointing Chinese April trade data re-ignited fears of slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy.
People in China splashed out on dining, travel and luxury goods after emerging from three years of pandemic restrictions but are still not spending freely on routine consumer items, if first quarter corporate results are an indication.
(Reporting by Bansari Mayur Kamdar in Bengaluru; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)