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EMERGING MARKETS-EMEA FX muted, Central European currencies lead weekly losses

Ambar Warrick
·2 mins read

* South African rand rises after economic recovery plan

* Russia's rouble to lose 1.6% for the week

* EM stocks edge up from steep losses in the prior session

By Ambar Warrick

Oct 16 (Reuters) - Most emerging markets currencies in Europe, Middle East and Africa were little changed on Friday and set for a weekly loss as resurging global coronavirus cases and signs an economic recovery may be stalling sapped demand for riskier assets.

Central European currencies, including the Hungarian forint , Czech crown and the Polish zloty were poised to be the region's biggest losers, with spiking coronavirus cases prompting a fresh round of restrictions.

The crown was set to lose more than 1% to the euro, while the forint was down more than 2% for the week after the Czech government recently introduced new curbs on social activity to plug the spread of the virus.

The Russian rouble was largely unchanged for the day, but was set to lose about 1.6% for the week after the European Union and Britain imposed sanctions on top Russian officials over the August poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

In addition to the threat of sanctions, weak oil prices and geopolitical risk have hurt the rouble in recent weeks.

"The EU sanctions contributed to rouble weakness, but probably not by much," Tatha Ghose, FX & EM Analyst at Commerzbank wrote in a note.

"The currency has underperformed an average of BRIC peers for much of the year, but depending on the timeframe one uses, it has underperformed by less than the more hard hit CE3 currencies or the Turkish lira for example."

The South African rand rose about 0.4% after President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday outlined a public works and jobs creation drive to pull the economy out of a coronavirus-induced trough.

Most regional currencies were set for a weekly loss as a second wave of coronavirus infections and a snag in U.S. stimulus talks made investors turn to safe-haven assets. Volatility is also expected to rise ahead of the U.S. Presidential election in early-Nov.

Emerging market stocks were a shade higher, with the MSCI's index of developing world stocks ticking up slightly after steep losses in the prior session.

The index was set to end the week largely unchanged.

For GRAPHIC on emerging market FX performance in 2020, see http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging index performance in 2020, see https://tmsnrt.rs/2OusNdX

For TOP NEWS across emerging markets

For CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see

For TURKISH market report, see

For RUSSIAN market report, see (Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru Editing by Tomasz Janowski)