Emerging Markets have started the week on a positive footing helped by some firm data releases. Equity markets in Asia had a strong day while EM currencies except TRY strengthened.
Sentiment was helped by China’s official manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI). This was released yesterday and came in at 50.5 in March (consensus 49.6) from 49.2 in February, while the non-manufacturing PMI also came in above expectations at 54.8 (consensus 54.4) from 54.3 in February. An above 50 reading implies manufacturing expansion. This was followed by the Caixin PMI this morning, which came in at 50.8 in March (consensus 50.0). The data suggests that China’s economy may finally be benefiting from official stimulus measures as well as hopes of a trade deal.
Aside from China’s index, PMIs across the region generally firmed, providing some relief to regional policy makers and markets. A key event this week in the region is India’s Reserve Bank (RBI) meeting to decide monetary policy on Thursday, where a 25bp policy rate cut is likely. Separately, attention will remain on US- China trade talks, with China’s top economic official Liu He due in Washington to continue discussions with US officials. Both sides appear to suggest a deal is moving closer to fruition although sticky points on structural issues remain in place.
Turkey hasn’t quite embraced the risk on tone following local elections there. President Erdogan’s AKP appears to have lost control of the capital Ankara to the main opposition CHP, while opposition parties are also likely to take control of several coastal cities. In Istanbul, the gap between the AKP and opposition is extremely close, with less than 0.1% between the two. Overall, the AKP led alliance has garnered about 51.7% of the national vote, while the opposition led by CHP, has 37.5%, with 98.9% of the votes counted, according to the state-run Anadolu agency. This was sufficient for the Erdogan to declare that the ruling party “emerged as the winner” though it is clear that AKP’s coalition party MHP played a large role. Further developments are awaited, with Turkish markets in limbo.