LONDON: Emerging assets were broadly firmer on Thursday, though eastern European markets seesawed as voting got under way in Britain’s hotly contested EU membership referendum.
MSCI’s emerging markets benchmark rose 0.4 percent for its fifth straight day of gains, while the main eastern European index was up 0.6 percent.
Assets across much of eastern Europe – the region with the most direct economic links not only to Britain but also with the euro zone – painted a mixed picture. Stocks in Warsaw edged 0.3 percent higher though the Budapest market fell 0.3 percent after a rally earlier in the week.
Meanwhile Poland’s zloty strengthened 0.2 percent against the euro – though it is on track for the strongest weekly gains since mid-December. Hungary’s forint slipped 0.1 percent.
“With opinion polls indicating that it is too close to call, the risk is that the markets are overestimating the probability that the UK will stay in the EU,” said Rabobank’s Piotr Matys.
“Market reaction will be asymmetric, which is one of the reasons why I’ve been maintaining a cautious approach.”
Emerging assets elsewhere equally struggled to find direction as a weaker dollar and gains in oil and commodity prices soothed the jitters over the British referendum.
South Africa’s rand jumped 0.8 percent to its strongest level in seven weeks against the dollar while Russia’s rouble almost matched those gains.
Turkey’s lira hovered unchanged after briefly hitting the strongest level in two weeks in early trading.
In the Philippines, the central bank kept its benchmark interest rate steady as expected at 3.0 percent and said it was prepared to act to contain any market volatility that might stem from Britain’s vote, adding the country had sufficient buffers from external shocks.
In Nigeria, the indicated naira exchange rate showed the currency a touch stronger against the dollar in the fourth day of the country’s new free-floating currency regime.
Non-deliverable dollar-naira forwards – or contracts to lock in future exchange rates – also indicated that pressure on the currency of Africa’s largest economy was easing off.
Copyright Reuters, 2016
Courtesy : BRecorder