EMERGING MARKETS-Currencies on edge as hopes fade for U.S.-China trade truce - REUTERS
* Report says China pessimistic about trade deal
* Hungary’s forint flat before central bank meeting
* South African rand, Russian rouble gain
* Chinese stocks up on stimulus hopes
By Sagarika Jaisinghani
Nov 19 (Reuters) - Emerging-market currencies weakened in subdued trading on Tuesday, amid growing doubts about a resolution to the U.S.-China trade war that has slowed global growth and rankled financial markets this year.
Investor sentiment turned dour after a report that Beijing was pessimistic about striking a trade deal with Washington. Declines were limited when the United States extended by 90 days permission for U.S. companies to do business with China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.
An index of developing world currencies fell 0.2% after trading near flat in the previous session.
“Overall, we think the chance of a complete breakdown in (U.S.-China) talks is now lower and the chance of a positive resolution – potentially including a rollback of tariffs – is higher,” said Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management.
Currencies in the developing world have weakened this month on conflicting headlines about resolving the tariff dispute that has now gone on for a year and a half.
Financial markets are now looking to major central banks for further hints on monetary policy to stem a global slowdown. The minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting are due on Wednesday, while ECB chief Christine Lagarde delivers her first major speech on Friday.
The Hungarian forint was trading about flat to the euro ahead of the central bank’s monthly policy meeting, which is expected to leave interest rates unchanged and signal that the economy is not overheating.
The South African rand and Russian rouble gained against a weaker dollar after easing in the previous session. The rouble is also typically supported in the second half of every month by exporters buying the currency to meet local duties.
Turkey’s lira gained 0.2%, while currencies in central and eastern European economies including Poland, Czech Republic and Romania were trading in a narrow range.
A basket of emerging-market stocks was up for the third straight session, led by Chinese shares , which posted their best day in two weeks as a surprise cut in a key lending rate on Monday bolstered hopes for more government stimulus.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index closed up 1.6%, lifted by a report that Alibaba had logged strong demand for its $13.4 billion secondary listing in the Asian financial hub.
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