EMERGING MARKETS-Stocks, European currencies cheered by slowdown in COVID-19 toll


By Ambar Warrick

April 6 (Reuters) - Most developing world stocks rose on Monday and European currencies gained as investors took heart from a slowdown in coronavirus-related deaths and new cases in Europe.

The death toll from the virus appeared to be slowing across several European countries and the rate of new cases in Italy - the worst-hit country in Europe - also dipped.

MSCI's index of emerging market stocks .MSCIEF added some 1.3%, while Hungary's forint HUF=, the Czech koruna CZK= and the Polish zloty PLN= all rose between 0.3% to 0.8% against the euro.

Still, with a deep global recession on the horizon as more countries curb economic activity to combat the virus, the day's gains were a smidgen of what has been lost over the past month.

"A fall in the number of new cases in some European countries is giving rise to hope. Only that the FX market is not the place to trade epidemiological hopes; the only thing that matters here are the economic effects," Commerzbank analysts wrote in a note.

"And as far as that is concerned things are still not looking great in Europe."

South African stocks .JTOPI jumped more than 4%, leading gains among their peers, while Turkish .XU100 and Russian .IMOEX bourses added about 1.5% and 1% respectively.

All three indexes had marked multi-year lows in March, and were a far cry from levels seen prior to the outbreak.

Russia's rouble RUB= was steady despite further weakness in oil prices, as markets held out for a possible production deal between the country and Saudi Arabia.

Oil prices retreated on the day after Saudi-Russian talks were postponed to later in the week. O/R

The Indian rupee INR=IN plunged 0.9% to within spitting distance of a record low after data showed that the country's services sector unexpectedly shrank in March - another economic casualty of the virus.

Broader emerging market currencies remained on the back foot, with a holiday in China also prompting languid trade.

MSCI's index of developing world currencies .MIEM00000CUS inched lower for the day, hovering around three-year lows. The index had marked its worst quarter in about five years.

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

For TOP NEWS across emerging markets

For CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see CEE/

For TURKISH market report, see .IS

For RUSSIAN market report, see RU/RUB

(Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)

((Ambar.Warrick@thomsonreuters.com; +91-80-6182-2837; Reuters Messaging: ambar.warrick.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net; Twitter: @AmbarWarrick))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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