July 2, 2020 / 8:52 AM / a month ago

EMERGING MARKETS-EMEA stocks rally, but currencies skittish ahead of U.S. payrolls

* Russian, Hungarian stocks lead gains

* MSCI EM stock index set for best day in over 2 weeks

* CEE currencies muted ahead of Eurozone data

By Ambar Warrick

July 2 (Reuters) - Emerging market stocks in Europe, the Middle East and Africa rose on Thursday as investors bet on a potential coronavirus vaccine, while currencies remained subdued ahead of key U.S. economic data.

The MSCI’s index of developing world equities added 1.8% and was set for its biggest daily gain in more than two weeks, as encouraging results from early-stage human trials of a COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech helped risk appetite.

Improving manufacturing activity surveys across the globe also spurred riskier buying, with Hungarian and Russian stock indexes leading gains in EMEA for the day.

Most EMEA currencies were muted, indicating that caution was still at the forefront, especially ahead of U.S. payroll data later in the day.

“Even though market participants seemed a little less risk-averse in view of the positive PMIs yesterday, they were not exactly euphoric,” Thu Lan Nguyen, FX & EM Analyst at Commerzbank, wrote in a note.

“First of all, the market has already largely priced in an economic recovery, and secondly, the survey-based economic indicators have to be taken with a pinch of salt.”

South Africa’s rand firmed against the U.S. dollar as markets awaited current account data from the country.

Central European currencies such as the Hungarian forint and the Polish zloty weakened against the euro, which was a touch firmer ahead of eurozone inflation and unemployment data.

Russia’s rouble took some support from stronger oil prices. Stocks in the country also rose after a holiday, after Russians voted in favour of changes that would allow President Vladimir Putin to remain in the Kremlin until 2036.

Turkish stocks rose, while the lira edged lower after data showed the country’s trade deficit narrowing in June, indicating that economic activity was slowly recovering from the coronavirus.

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

For TOP NEWS across emerging markets

For CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see

For TURKISH market report, see

For RUSSIAN market report, see (Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Jan Harvey)

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