EMERGING MARKETS-EMEA FX retreats after strong November; South African rand gains

Ambar Warrick
·2-min read

* EMEA stocks rise on positive Chinese data

* South African trade surplus increases in Oct

* Turkish lira leads losses after outperforming in Nov

By Ambar Warrick

Dec 1 (Reuters) - South Africa's rand led gains across emerging markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa on Tuesday after some encouraging economic data, while most other currencies retreated after posting strong monthly gains, despite positive Chinese data.

The rand rose as much as 0.6% to the dollar, with positive trade data on Monday lending some support. The country also recorded a wider budget deficit in October, as compared to a year earlier.

But the rand has ground higher despite mixed economic readings, benefiting from increased inflows as optimism over a coronavirus vaccine drove money into risk-driven assets.

"This widening of the deficit was related to marginally higher spending, while revenues remained on par with the previous month," analysts at Credit Suisse wrote in a note.

"In sequential terms, we would like to highlight a return of revenues to pre-COVID trends. The data definitely suggests stabilization in the fiscal position in October, after a sharp deterioration following the COVID shock."

Other EMEA currencies retreated after stellar gains in November, while Asian units rose as a private business survey showed activity in China's factory sector accelerated at the fastest pace in a decade in November.

Turkey's lira fell about 1% after marking its best month in two years. It had widely outperformed its regional peers in November after a major shake-up in the country's economic leadership.

Turkish stocks rose more than 1% after data showed manufacturing activity rose in November. The country also extended a wage support programme as local coronavirus cases increased.

Most other regional stocks also climbed, while the MSCI's index of emerging market stocks advanced more than 1%.

In central Europe, the Polish zloty was flat to the euro, while stocks rose after data showed that conditions in the Polish manufacturing sector improved last month.

Hungary's forint retreated slightly to the euro after final data showed that the country's economy shrank by an annual 4.6% in the third quarter.

Weakness in the forint in October saw Hungary's industrial producer price inflation rise to an annual 5.9%.

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 RUSSIAN market report, see (Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)