EMERGING MARKETS-Surge in coronavirus cases, deaths bog down EM assets
* China stocks break 7-day winning streak
* Jump in virus cases counter hopes of outbreak peaking
* South African gold miners lead gains among stocks
* Turkish industrial output jumps in December
By Shreyashi Sanyal
Feb 13 (Reuters) – Emerging market stocks and currencies came under pressure on Thursday after a jump in coronavirus cases and deaths reported under a new diagnostic method in China hammered investors’ hopes that the outbreak might soon peak.
The death toll from the outbreak in China had reached 1,367 as of the end of Wednesday, up 254 from the previous day, the country’s National Health Commission said.
“Those market quants (quantitative analysts) who have been merrily looking at the recent decline in the day-to-day new virus cases woke to a shock this morning,” said Michael Every, senior strategist, Asia-Pacific at Rabobank.
Emerging market assets had rallied in the last two sessions on hopes that the spread of the coronavirus was slowing after China on Wednesday reported its lowest number of new cases of the flu-like virus since late January, and as a senior medical adviser said the outbreak could be over by April.
MSCI’s index for emerging market stocks dipped 0.2% on Thursday, with Chinese equities bucking a seven-day rally to end the session 0.7% lower.
South Africa’s rand, considered one of the highest yielding currencies in the developing world, weakened 0.4% against the dollar. Local investors are awaiting President Cyril Ramaphosa’s state of the nation address, scheduled to start at 1700 GMT.
Stocks in Africa’s most industrialised nation rose 0.7%, as gold miners Sibanye Gold and AngloGold Ahsanti led gainers.
Gold prices pushed higher, benefiting from a flight to safety sparked by the risk-off sentiment among global equity investors.
Russia’s commodity-linked rouble weakened 0.5% against the greenback as oil prices declined.
The Turkish lira eased as well, despite data showing industrial production climbed in December, exceeding forecasts in the fourth consecutive rise as the economy gathers pace after recovering from recession.
Turkey’s currency has come under pressure from fears of escalation in Syria’s conflict. Analysts have warned that a full-scale military confrontation between Turkey and Syrian government forces, which are supported by Russia, would substantially increase the pressure on the lira.
Currencies in central and eastern Europe, including Hungary and Poland, traded in tight ranges against the euro. For GRAPHIC on emerging market FX performance in 2020, see tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging index performance in 2020, see tmsnrt.rs/2OusNdX
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