LONDON, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Emerging stocks raced to fresh six-year highs on Tuesday, lifted by stellar gains in Asia but Turkish markets fell heavily, pressured by worsening ties with the United States and fears the central bank would be unable to combat an inflation spike.
The lira hit a record low at 3.9780 per dollar having slipped some 17 percent since September, and one-month implied volatility, a gauge of expected swings in a currency at a seven-month high.
But the currency has also underperformed emerging market peers, weakening nearly 10 percent since the start of the year against South Africa’s rand, itself dogged by domestic political and economic woes.
Turkish 10-year bond yields spiked to 13.5 percent while stocks hit a six-month low before turning 0.5 percent higher.
Bank stocks have been hit hard, losing 10 percent this month , with some participants fearing possible U.S. fines on Turkish lenders following the trial in the United States of gold trader Reza Zarrab.
Zarrab is accused of violating U.S. sanctions on Iran.
Central bank measures to shore up the lira through raising the weighted average cost of funding starting from Wednesday did little to assuage nerves.
“What they are doing is tightening somewhat in response to the weakness to the lira ... whether this is going to be effective is questionable and the market’s response has been lukewarm,” said Paul Fage at TD Securities.
“This is not a central bank that acts as if it has a mandate to keep inflation at 5 percent and (that) they will do what is needed to get it there.”
While the latest lira fall is likely to exacerbate inflation which is already around 10 percent, there are concerns over central bank independence. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday a lack of government intervention in monetary policy had contributed to high inflation.
Other emerging currencies also came under pressure as the dollar index chalked up its biggest gains in nearly a month.
The rand weakened 0.5 percent and is likely to stay under pressure ahead of ratings agency decisions on Friday that could see South Africa’s local currency debt cut to junk.
Downgrades to sub-investment grade could trigger forced selling of up to $12 billion of South African bonds. Economists predict a move to junk could trigger a 5 percent fall in the rand and push benchmark 10-year bond yields 50 basis points higher.
Russia’s rouble was treading water, getting some support from higher oil prices.
Meanwhile, MSCI’s emerging stocks index added 1 percent, as bourses across much of the developing world followed major U.S. indexes higher.
Hong Kong stocks ended their trading day nearly 2 percent up at a decade-high, while Chinese blue chips nearly matched those gains, trading at 28-month highs.
Russian stocks rose 0.8 percent, while South Africa’s bourse hit a record high, lifted by a near 3 percent jump in heavyweight Naspers.
Central banks in Hungary and Nigeria were scheduled to release their latest decision.
Already one of the most dovish central banks in the world, the National Bank of Hungary is expected to keep base rates unchanged at 0.9 percent but tipped to announce a new interest rate swap tool to push long-term debt yields and mortgage interest rates lower.
Nigeria’s central bank — faced with inflation remaining high at almost 16 percent year-on-year in October — is expected to keep rates unchanged at 14 percent.
For CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see
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Reporting by Karin Strohecker; Additional reporting and graphics by Marc Jones and Claire Milhench; Editing by Catherine Evans