Trade Detente-Fueled Rally Fades Amid Weak China Data: EM Review

(Bloomberg) -- Emerging-market assets declined as disappointing economic data from China reinforced concerns about the outlook for global growth, outweighing positive trade developments.

Listen to the weekly emerging markets podcast, here:

Asset Moves Weekly
MSCI EM stocks index-1.0%
MSCI EM FX index-0.7%
Bloomberg Barclays Global EM Local Currency bond index  -0.7%

Highlights:

  • Beijing took more steps to defuse trade tensions with Washington, confirming it will remove the retaliatory duty on automobiles imported from the U.S. and preparing to restart purchases of American corn
    • The 25 percent tariff imposed on vehicles as a tit-for-tat measure will be scrapped starting Jan. 1 for three months, the finance ministry said Friday
    • China is also said to mull buying at least 3 million metric tons of American corn
    • Top Chinese and U.S. trade officials spoke by phone, signaling that dialog between the two nations on trade issues is at least continuing despite the arrest of Huawei Technologies Co. executive
    • China is considering plans to delay some targets in its strategy to dominate high-end technologies as it tries to ease trade tensions with America that have roiled financial markets
    • China made its first large purchase of American soybeans since the trade war began, the U.S. Soybean Export Council said
    • China will need to do more than what it’s promised so far to ease trade tensions with the U.S., Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Thursday
  • Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou was granted bail by a Canadian court; Donald Trump told Reuters he would intervene in the case if it helped get a trade deal with China, and also said he’s open to meeting Xi Jinping again
  • China’s leaders will hold their annual economic policy-setting meeting from Dec. 19 to Dec. 21, according to people briefed on the plans
  • India’s rupee was among the worst emerging-market performers after central bank Governor Urjit Patel resigned earlier in the week, saying he had decided to step down “on account of personal reasons”
    • Shaktikanta Das, a former bureaucrat at the Finance Ministry, was named as Patel’s replacement; the new governor billed himself as a consensus-builder and a defender of the institution’s autonomy
  • European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said risks to the euro-area economy are worsening even as he called time on the ECB’s flagship deflation-fighting tool
  • Bonds issued to fund a canceled $13 billion international airport in Mexico City jumped after the government improved a buyback offer -- a sign that it wants to resolve the dispute
  • President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said mid-week that Turkey will start a new military operation against U.S.-backed Kurdish militants in northern Syria within a few days
    • Turkey’s long-term foreign currency debt rating was affirmed by Fitch Ratings at BB, two levels below investment grade, while the outlook remained negative
  • Russia’s central bank unexpectedly raised its key interest rate a quarter-point to 7.75 percent, the second hike this year, and signaled it may soon act again as inflation accelerates amid a tax hike and possible new U.S. sanctions

Asia:

  • Chinese November industrial production and retail sales missed estimates by wide margins, highlighting the impact of the trade war
    • The economy is facing increasing downward pressure and monetary policy will continue to be supportive, People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang said
    • The domestic and external environment remains complicated, National Bureau of Statistics said
  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party was defeated in three key state elections
    • Inflation rate fell to 2.33 percent in November from a revised 3.38 percent in October
  • Pakistan’s long-term issuer default rating was downgraded by Fitch Ratings to B- from B; the action reflects heightened external financing risk from low reserves, elevated external debt repayments, and a continued deterioration in the fiscal position
  • Bank Indonesia intervention continued. The central bank stands ready to intervene in bond and domestic non-deliverable forwards market to maintain rupiah stability, said Nanang Hendarsah, executive director for monetary management
    • President Joko Widodo will double cash handouts to the poor next year ahead of general elections in April
    • Indonesia is considering lowering taxes on income from longer-term sovereign bonds to reduce market volatility and deepen financial market
  • Thailand’s baht was emerging Asia’s top performer, but the nation’s benchmark stock index was among the region’s laggards; the military government lifted a ban on political activity ahead of a general election that it confirmed for Feb. 24
    • Economic growth may slow to about 4 percent next year as trade tension between the U.S. and China continue to affect the global economy, Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong said
  • The Philippine central bank left its policy rate unchanged at 4.75 percent, as expected
    • The nation posted a wider-than-expected trade deficit in October of $4.2 billion, compared with the median estimate for a $3.7 billion shortfall
    • Central bank forecast the current-account deficit would widen next year to the most since 2001, underscoring that pressure on the currency may persist
  • Ex-1MDB President Arul Kanda and Malaysia’s former leader Najib Razak were charged for their alleged roles in tampering with a state audit report into the troubled fund
    • Malaysia’s industrial production increased 4.2 percent on the year in October, compared with the median estimate for a 3 percent gain and a 2.3 percent advance in September

EMEA:

  • Turkey softened its commitment to keeping monetary policy tight for an extended period, even as the central bank kept interest rates on hold for a second meeting
  • South African factory output increased at the fastest pace in more than two years in October. Manufacturing production rose 3 percent from a year earlier, compared with a revised 0.1 percent contraction in September, the Pretoria-based statistics office said
  • Nigeria’s gross domestic product climbed 1.8 percent in the three months through September from a year earlier. That compares with 1.5 percent in the second quarter, the Abuja-based National Bureau of Statistics said
    • Consumer prices climbed 11.28 percent in November from a year earlier as the cost of food surged
  • Tunisia’s central bank kept its benchmark rate unchanged at 6.75 percent as it expressed concern about the continued expansion of the trade deficit and banks’ increasing need for liquidity
  • Monthly consumer prices in Egypt fell for the first time since January to bring annual inflation back within the central bank’s target range, a drop likely to encourage policy makers to hold interest rates in December

Latin America:

  • The improved Mexico airport bond buyback offer, capped at $1.8 billion of $6 billion outstanding, includes a price of par plus accrued and unpaid interest. There’s also a consent payment for investors who enter the deal before Dec. 19, Mexico’s Finance Ministry said
    • The notes lost steam on Thursday after a group of bondholders said it won’t support the new offer
    • President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador sent Congress his 2019 budget plan, which includes more spending on social programs and infrastructure, while still preserving the fiscal framework established by his predecessors
  • Brazil’s swap rates retreated after the central bank held its key rate unchanged at a record low, saying that the risk of slow growth leading to lower-than-expected inflation had increased
    • Retail sales unexpectedly dropped in October, supporting the case for a dovish central bank
    • President-elect Jair Bolsonaro is backed by the vast majority of Brazilians, according to a public opinion poll
    • Bolsonaro said he may have erred by not declaring to tax authorities a loan he made
  • Argentina’s consumer prices rose at the slowest pace since July after the nation’s new monetary policy helped to stabilize the peso
    • Real interest rates probably need to remain elevated for some time, Economy Minister Nicolas Dujovne said
  • Peru’s central bank held its key rate unchanged at 2.75 percent for the ninth consecutive month as tame inflation allows it to keep stimulating the economy after growth slowed in the third quarter
Upcoming Data and Economic Releases
  • For Asia, click here
  • For Eastern Europe, click here
  • For Middle East and Africa, click here
  • For Latin America, click here

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.