EM Review: India Upgrade, Zimbabwean Military, Romanian Growth

  • S. African rand led currency gains as political concerns eased
  • Gauge of developing-nation stocks climbed to a 6-year high

Moody's Upgrades India For First Time Since 2004

Emerging-market currencies rose for a third week, the longest winning streak in two months, as a dollar measure dropped amid a decline in oil prices. Their equity counterparts also completed a third week of gains as U.S. shares erased losses on signs of progress on tax overhaul and optimism for steady earnings growth.

Highlights for the week ended Nov. 17:

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell for a second week. U.S. President Donald Trump ended his swing through Asia, hailing progress toward his goal of reducing the U.S. trade deficit
  • Moody’s Investors Service raised India’s sovereign bond rating for the first time since 2004, citing continued progress in economic and institutional reforms
  • U.S. stocks stemmed a two-day loss as House Republicans on Thursday passed legislation to overhaul the tax code by cutting the corporate tax rate. The Senate is debating its own separate plan, and it isn’t yet clear the chamber will have enough votes to pass it
  • Fitch Ratings declared PDVSA in default, while Venezuela was declared in default by S&P Global ratings for a similar issue
  • Oil continued its retreat from a two-year high. The International Energy Agency said that oil prices probably haven’t established a new “floor” at $60 a barrel as it trimmed estimates for demand
  • The Zimbabwean military seized power, ending President Robert Mugabe’s 37-year monopoly on power
  • Turkish lira was the worst performer after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the central bank is “on the wrong path”; a senior Turkish military official said the country has completed planning for an operation against the Kurdish stronghold of Afrin in Syria and is awaiting orders from the government on timing


  • The Indian rupee wiped out almost all its November loss on Friday after the rating upgrade; India’s inflation quickened to a seven-month high, dimming hopes of an interest-rate cut when the central bank reviews policy early next month
  • South Korea’s won was the best performer among emerging-market peers as markets priced in the possibility of interest-rate hikes by the central bank, which has been sounding more hawkish; Bank of Korea meets on Nov. 30
  • China’s holdings of U.S. Treasuries fell in September, but stayed near the highest in a year; China’s sovereign bonds completed an eighth weekly decline, the longest run of losses in more than four years
  • Indonesia’s central bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged for a second month; rupiah was unchanged this week, laggard among Asia’s emerging-market currencies.
  • Malaysia central bank Governor Muhammad Ibrahim said any adjustment to its monetary policy would be a “normalization” rather than tightening, as authorities prepare the market for possible higher interest rates; the country’s economy grew at the fastest pace in more than three years in the third quarter


  • Russia agreed to restructure almost $3.2 billion of Venezuelan debt
  • Turkey’s 10-year bond yield jumped to record high and the lira extended declines as President Erdogan said the nation’s central bank is on the wrong path, fueling concern over political pressure on the regulator as it grapples with accelerating inflation.
  • Saudi Arabian retail investors were the biggest sellers of stocks amid rising political risk in the region after a crackdown in the kingdom spooked traders
  • Romanian economy grew 8.8 percent from a year ago in the third quarter, exceeding the 6.2 percent median estimate in a Bloomberg survey; the Romanian leu strengthened 1.6 percent against the dollar, among the best-performing emerging-market currencies after the rand and the won.
  • South Africa’s rand rallied almost 2.9 percent this week, beating any other major currency in the world. “The easing of global risk aversion has allowed the rand to finally unwind the local-politics-induced losses,” writes Rand Merchant Bank strategist John Cairns in a note to clients.

Latin America:

  • A panel of credit derivatives dealers and investors ruled Thursday that debt payment delays by Venezuela and its state-owned oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela, triggered payouts on more than $1.5 billion credit-default swaps tied to their debt
  • Chile’s central bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged for a sixth consecutive month as faster-than-forecast inflation damped the need for further stimulus; Chile’s peso extended a 3-week winning streak amid stable copper prices.
  • Mexico’s Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said while a U.S. withdrawal from Nafta can’t be discounted entirely, chance of that happening this year isn’t high; the Mexican peso strengthened for a second week past 19.00 level , the first back-to-back weekly gain in two months.
    • Canada said it’s open to a 5-year Nafta review proposal from the U.S. after Mexico signaled acceptance of the idea; this helps remove a potential source of tension in Nafta negotiations.
  • Colombia’s economy grew at the fastest pace in more than a year in the third quarter as a good coffee harvest helps the economy regain momentum; the Colombian peso strengthened toward 3,000 level, extending a second week of advance.

Upcoming data:

Sunday, Nov. 19 Chile Presidential elections
Monday, Nov. 20Thailand 3Q GDP
PhilippinesOctober balance of payments
RussiaOctober jobless rate, retail sales
PolandOctober retail sales, industrial output
Tuesday, Nov. 21HungaryCentral bank rate decision 
Nigeria Central bank rate decision 
ArgentinaMonetary policy decision
Wednesday, Nov.  22MalaysiaOctober CPI, foreign reserves
South AfricaOctober CPI
Thursday, Nov.  23Brazil November IBGE Inflation IPCA-15
MexicoCentral bank meeting minutes
South AfricaMonetary policy decision
Friday, Nov. 24Mexico3Q GDP 
ColombiaMonetary policy decision
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