Emerging shares, currencies rise on dovish Fed
LONDON – Reuters
Emerging market currencies hit their highest level in nearly four months on Nov. 29 and stocks gained as dovish remarks from the U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell put the dollar on the back foot.
However, stocks markets in China and Hong Kong weakened as a cautious mood crept in ahead of the high-stakes meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G-20 Summit this week.
Powell said on Nov. 28 the central bank’s policy rate is now “just below” estimates of a level that neither brakes nor boosts a healthy U.S. economy.
Investors read the comments as a signal of the Fed’s three-year tightening cycle drawing to a close, boosting appetite for risk. A cumulative impact of a string of rate rises by the Fed since 2015 has sucked money out of emerging markets this year.
“The main driver for the currencies today is the comments by the governor which indicates the Fed may be looking to pause rates sometime next year which is a huge boost to risk sentiment across markets,” said Khoon Goh, Singapore-based head of Asia research for ANZ Banking Group.
Most emerging currencies benefited from the falling dollar with the South African rand hitting near 4-month highs, shrugging off data showing that credit demand growth had slowed in October.
The Turkish lira strengthened 1 percent finding support from a data that showed the economic confidence index in November had bounced off from last month’s decade low.
The Indian rupee hit a three-month high ahead of a central bank rate meeting where officials are expected to hold current borrowing costs.
A Reuters Poll showed that the Reserve Bank of India won’t raise interest rates until at least April 2019, much later than thought just one month ago.
The MSCI’s index for emerging market stocks rose 0.7 percent hitting a 3-week high, despite losses in heavyweight stock indexes in China and Hong Kong.
Ten-year U.S. treasury yields fell to over two-month lows, boosting indexes in South Africa, India and Turkey which rose between 0.7 percent and 1.6 percent.