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EM-Shares recover as China selloff eases, Fed in focus

Most market experts expect more regulations in China.
Image: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Emerging market equities gained ground on Wednesday, after logging a 5% drop over the previous three sessions, as a rout in China shares showed signs of easing, while investors focused on the US Federal Reserve for hints on stimulus tapering.

Although most Asian stock indices extended declines, Chinese blue-chip shares edged 0.2% higher, while Hong Kong’s main index climbed 1.5%.

Tough regulatory measures in China’s education, property and technology sectors have weighed heavily on those indexes, pushing them firmly into the negative territory for the year.

MSCI’s China-heavy index of EM shares rose 0.5%, helped also by gains of between 0.4% and 0.6% in Turkey , Russia and most of emerging eastern Europe .

Most market experts expect more regulations in China.

“There is sufficient uncertainty at this time to be cautious on … China in general. We have cut our exposure since the beginning of the year, going from very overweight to somewhat underweight,” said Nicholas McConway, head of Asia ex-Japan equities at Amundi.

Invesco’s Golden Dragon China ETF has lost almost 50% since February.

But, this phase of market correction will create interesting investment opportunities in the longer term as valuations become more compelling and as the market becomes more comfortable with the Chinese regulatory regime, McConway said.

The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday lowered its outlook for developing economies, citing their difficulties in accessing Covid-19 vaccines and lesser fiscal support than in advanced economies. It reduced its 2021 forecast for China by 0.3 percentage point.

With the dollar trading in a tight range ahead of the Fed outcome, most EM currencies firmed. The Chinese yuan rose for the first time in five sessions.

A dovish stance by the US central bank so far has helped riskier assets this year.

Rising oil prices bolstered crude exporter Russia’s rouble , approaching highs hit three-week ago.

Turkey’s lira rose around 0.3% against both the greenback and the euro, while Hungary’s forint moved further away from three-month lows as it extended Tuesday’s rally when the central bank delivered a 30 basis point rate hike to 1.2%, higher than expected.

Nigeria’s central bank on Tuesday said it was halting dollar sales to exchange bureaus. The decision came after rising World Bank pressure on Nigeria to provide a clearer foreign exchange management system – and converge its multiple exchange rates.

South Africa’s rand lost 0.2%, with losses since last week pushing it into the red for the year.

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