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EM stocks fall as Trump fans US-China trade fears

US President Donald Trump holds up a trade deal with China.

Emerging-market stocks fell on Wednesday after reaching their highest in nearly a month on Tuesday, as fears grew that the US-China trade war would intensify. Turkey’s lira weakened before a central bank meeting.

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he had no interest in moving ahead unless Beijing agrees to four or five “major points”, which he did not specify, curbing risk appetite towards developing-world assets.

Turkey’s lira was 0.2% weaker. Analysts polled by Reuters expect the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey to leave its weekly repo rate at 24% when it meets later on Wednesday.

“We don’t expect the CBRT to surprise at today’s MPC meeting, we think the benchmark one-week repo rate will remain unchanged at 24%,” Cristian Maggio, head of EM strategy at TD Securities, wrote in a note.

“With inflation decelerating further in May (down to 18.7% year on year from 19.5% in April), and real rates in excess of 5% now, there could be an attempt to cut the tightness of monetary policy, or signal promptness to do so.”

MSCI’s developing-world stocks index dropped 0.4%. Stocks in China fell 0.6%.

Hong Kong-traded stocks lost 1.9% and local interbank interest rates shot up as protests shut down parts of the city and demand for cash surged.

Istanbul-listed stocks fell 0.2%, with bank shares declining 0.7%. The market has underperformed the bulk of emerging markets over the past three months, amid rising tensions with the United States.

Washington has threatened to impose sanctions if Ankara goes ahead with a defence deal with Russia. However, Russia on Tuesday said it plans to deliver its S-400 missile defence systems to Turkey in July.

South Africa‘s rand slipped 0.1%. South African equities fell 0.3% as gains among materials were overshadowed by a decline in financials.

Hungary’s forint gained against the euro before the release of the minutes of the central bank’s May meeting.

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