January 28, 2020 / 9:37 AM / 25 days ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Stocks set for longest losing streak in four months as China virus spreads

* EM stocks index set for fourth straight day of declines

* China coronavirus death toll passes 100

* Investors anxious about economic fallout from outbreak

By Shreyashi Sanyal

Jan 28 (Reuters) - Emerging market equities declined for a fourth straight session on Tuesday, set for their longest losing streak in four months, on rising worries about the economic impact from a virus outbreak in China as the death toll rose.

MSCI’s index for emerging market equities fell 0.7%, tracking stock market losses across Asia.

The coronavirus spreading across China claimed its first victim in Beijing, as the death toll rose to 106. A wave of risk aversion swept over global markets as investors worried about the potential impact of the outbreak on the world’s second-biggest economy.

“We are in the acute phase of the crisis, which means everyday there are reports of new contagions, new countries reporting cases... so the market will react to that and continue to adjust itself in a bearish direction,” said Cristian Maggio, head of emerging markets strategy at TD Securities in London.

“Now, is this going to be the reality by the end of the crisis? Probably not. The market is over reacting because it is still too early to determine the economic impact.”

Emerging market assets had received a boost on hopes of a pickup in economic growth after the United States and China reached an initial trade agreement, but analysts said an unexpected growth shock could leave them vulnerable to a renewed downturn.

In South Africa, beleaguered power utility Eskom said installing all the technology needed to meet stricter emissions rules coming into force in April could take the company two decades.

State-owned Eskom, mired in financial crisis and struggling to meet demand, is the top polluter in Africa’s most industrialised economy.

The South African rand fell against the dollar, reversing an earlier rise, as a weak domestic outlook continued to weigh on sentiment.

South African stocks fell 0.4%, while Russian stocks lost 0.3%.

Russia’s rouble strengthened slightly, in line with steadying oil prices.

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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For CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see

For TURKISH market report, see

For RUSSIAN market report, see (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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