EMERGING MARKETS-EM stocks rise as China's stimulus measures calm nerves

by Reuters
Monday, 17 February 2020 08:57 GMT

* Investor anxiety eased by China's medium-term rate cut

* Russian industrial output, monetary policy report awaited

* Possible flare up in Turkey-Russia tensions eyed, lira flat

By Shreyashi Sanyal

Feb 17 (Reuters) - Emerging market equities kicked off the week on firm footing on Monday as China's move to cut its medium-term lending rate soothed investors' anxiety around the economic blow from a coronavirus outbreak.

China's decision is expected to pave the way for a reduction in the country's benchmark interest rate as policymakers sought to ease the damage from the virus outbreak that has severely disrupted activity.

"Certainly, it will take some time for the economy to return to the normal track," said Ulrich Leuchtmann, head of FX and commodity research at Commerzbank.

"In the meantime, the market has gradually priced in the possibility of a large fiscal stimulus in China, which makes sense as the Chinese government has a strong track record to fire up the economy amid difficult times."

MSCI's index for emerging market stocks rose 0.2%, after ending two consecutive weeks in the black on Friday.

However, the outbreak continued to rage as officials said the total number of coronavirus cases rose by 2,048 to 70,548, with 1,770 deaths as of Monday.

Currencies in the developing world eked out a 0.1% gain after logging their first weekly increase in four on Friday.

The Russian rouble firmed against the dollar, as it tracked the global risk-on mood while also receiving a boost from the month-end tax period that began on Monday.

Tax payments generally prompt export-focused companies to convert foreign currency revenues to meet local liabilities.

Investors in Russia also awaited industrial output data for the moth of January and the central bank's release of its monetary policy report.

The Turkish lira traded in a tight range as investors are eying a possible flare up in tensions between Ankara and Moscow after heavy shelling of Aleppo by Russian forces on Sunday.

Currencies in central and eastern Europe, including Hungary's forint and the Czech crown firmed slightly against the euro.

For GRAPHIC on emerging market FX performance in 2020, see http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging index performance in 2020, see https://tmsnrt.rs/2OusNdX

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For CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see

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For RUSSIAN market report, see (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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