Emerging-market assets were under pressure Wednesday as soaring oil prices and conflict in the Middle East overshadowed any optimism generated by forecast-beating Chinese growth data.
(Bloomberg) — Emerging-market assets were under pressure Wednesday as soaring oil prices and conflict in the Middle East overshadowed any optimism generated by forecast-beating Chinese growth data.
Stocks fell to the lowest in more than a week as a wave of risk aversion gripped markets as traders worried about an escalation of the conflict in the Middle East. The Mexican peso sank 1.3% versus the greenback, leading losses among all but three of the 23 developing-world currencies tracked by Bloomberg.
Dollar bonds issued by Middle Eastern sovereigns were among the worst performers, with Dubai’s notes due in 2043 sliding to 84 cents on the dollar, the lowest in 11 months. Israel’s bonds due 2043 fell for a fifth-consecutive day.
Oil prices surged above $90 per barrel as Iran called for an embargo against Israel after a massive bombing at a Gaza City hospital killed at least 500 people, leading Israel and Hamas to trade blame for the attack. Concern that the conflict will escalate remained high, even after President Joe Biden’s 7.5-hour trip to Tel Aviv.
MSCI Inc.’s gauge of emerging-market stocks fell 0.85%.
Some Asian assets briefly rallied earlier in the session after data showed China’s economy gained momentum last quarter. The gains, however, faded rapidly as focus returned to the Middle East and China’s real estate woes. With developer Country Garden Holdings Co. appearing headed for its first-ever debt default, a Bloomberg Intelligence gauge of developer shares closed at a 14-year low.
Across Latin America, the Chilean peso was down 0.5% after jumping as much as 1.1% earlier in the session. The central bank said it will consider the currency’s “very important” depreciation at next week’s monetary policy meeting, in remarks interpreted as verbal intervention by analysts.
Poland — this week’s biggest single emerging-market outperformer — also saw its stocks and currency slide after a two-day rally triggered by Sunday’s election win for the pro-European Union opposition bloc.
While the election outcome raised optimism that Poland can now unlock frozen EU assistance funds, the new coalition could take weeks to form, with the incumbent nationalist party still holding the most seats in parliament.
In Africa, Nigeria’s naira plunged the most in almost four months to a record low in the official market as the West African nation’s move to a more flexible exchange rate put pressure on the currency.
(Updates pricing throughout, starting in second paragraph.)
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