May 10, 2018 / 9:18 AM / 2 years ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Tepid dollar, strong commodities lift emerging stocks

* Rising crude, copper prices provide support

* Argentine peso dips despite IMF “high access stand-by” request

* Malaysia ringgit could face weakness on shock election result

By Karin Strohecker

LONDON, May 10 (Reuters) - Emerging market equities extended gains and some currencies bounced on Thursday as a tepid dollar and rising oil prices offset tensions over Iran’s nuclear deal, while Malaysia’s surprise election outcome reverberated through Asian markets.

MSCI’s emerging market index rose 0.7 percent in its fourth straight day of gains, lifted by solid gains in Asia. IT stocks across developing markets jumped 1.4 percent in the slipstream of gains by developed peers.

Adding to the momentum were higher oil and copper prices. The former hit more multi-year highs as markets adjusted to the prospects of renewed U.S. sanctions against major crude exporter Iran.

Following a bruising few days, some emerging currencies made the most of the dollar taking a breather.

“While oil remains on its upward drive - not least because of the increased tension in the Middle East with apparent attacks between Israel and Syria/Iran - some dollar and U.S. Treasury calming (is) leaving emerging market FX mixed,” Simon Quijano-Evans, emerging markets strategist at Legal & General Investment Management, wrote in a note to clients.

South Africa’s rand and Mexico’s peso strengthened around 0.5 percent, while China’s yuan also edged higher.

Turkey’s lira edged 0.2 percent higher after investors digested the outcome of an emergency meeting between President Tayyip Erdogan and members of the government’s economic team. Policymakers agreed to take measures to ease interest rates at the gathering in a move unlikely to assuage investor concerns about double-digit inflation.

But there was no let-up on the horizon for Argentina, with the peso weakening 0.5 percent after Buenos Aires said it would request a “high access stand-by” financing arrangement from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to calm volatile financial markets.

Turning to the IMF is a politically risky move for business-friendly President Mauricio Macri, who was elected in late 2015 after 12 years of leftist government. Many Argentines blame the IMF for imposing policies on Argentina that led to a deep financial crisis in 2001 and 2002.

Meanwhile a shock election victory by Malaysia’s nonagenarian opposition leader saw the ringgit dip in offshore trading with non-deliverable currency forwards pointing to more weakness ahead while the country’s credit default swaps hit the highest level in at least a year.

Former Prime Minister Mahatir Mohamad’s possible return to power is set to raise concerns among investors over the economic outlook, including his likely plans to scrap goods and services taxes which would hit government revenues. Ratings agency Moody’s said the result left the country in uncharted territory and could be credit negative.

Malaysia’s central bank kept its key interest rate unchanged at a scheduled meeting, citing lower inflation and steady economic growth opposition.

For GRAPHIC on emerging market FX performance 2018, see For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging index performance 2018, see

For TOP NEWS across emerging markets

For CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see

For TURKISH market report, see

For RUSSIAN market report, see

Reporting and graphics by Karin Strohecker Editing by Andrew Heavens

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