EMERGING MARKETS-Emerging stocks fall after Fed signals early rate hike
By Natsuko Waki
LONDON, March 20 (Reuters) - Emerging stocks fell more than 1 percent on Thursday after the Federal Reserve hinted at an earlier-than-expected interest rate hike, which would further reduce the flow of cheap money that has bolstered emerging markets in the past few years.
China's yuan hit a one-year low against the dollar and was on track for its biggest weekly loss in at least 20 years, a move that weighed on some Asian currencies.
But many other emerging currencies steadied, helped by the absence of a follow-through rally in the dollar and the lack of further escalation in political tensions in Russia and Ukraine.
"There is quite a limited reaction in central and eastern Europe to the news from the Fed. They are more calm on the fact that there is no further bad news on the Ukraine and Russia situation," said Stanislava Pravdova, analyst at Danske Bank.
"However, concerns over the Chinese economy will be the dominant factor for emerging markets. We need to see the extent of a Chinese slowdown."
The Fed cut monthly bond purchases by $10 billion as expected on Wednesday. Fed chair Janet Yellen said the bank will probably end its bond-buying programme in the autumn and could start raising interest rates around six months later .
The benchmark MSCI emerging equity index fell 1.3 percent , outpacing losses in its developed market counterpart .
The yuan fell as low as 6.2321 after the central bank set a lower guidance for the currency. The bank has been guiding the yuan lower to introduce a two-way risk in trading and also prepare the ground for further liberalisation of the market. Continuación...