A money changer holds Indonesian rupiah notes in Jakarta. Picture: REUTERS
A money changer holds Indonesian rupiah notes in Jakarta. Picture: REUTERS

Bengaluru — Emerging-market shares slipped in lacklustre trade on Thursday ahead of a long Easter holiday as they tracked a dip on Wall Street overnight, while developing currencies also lost ground against a stronger dollar.

MSCI’s index of emerging-market shares fell 0.6% as most shares across the developing world were well in the red, while its currency index was 0.2% lower with the Turkish lira leading losses.

US stocks closed lower on Wednesday weighed by a drop in healthcare equities. Disappointing purchasing managers’ data from Europe also weighed, as investors gauged the impact on global growth.

“Investors are becoming cautious given that most of the good news about trade and the economic data are largely priced in, but very little downside has been discounted,” said Simona Gambarini, a markets economist at Capital Economics. “So if, as we expect, the global economy doesn’t rebound as current high equity prices seem to imply, emerging-market equities could fall sharply.” 

Indonesia’s rupiah and stocks bucked the gloom after early election results indicated incumbent leader Joko Widodo is set to be re-elected, giving him another five years to deliver on a reform agenda and revive economic growth.

“Expectations of policy continuity and, more importantly, implementation of much needed reforms to lift GDP growth and improve infrastructure” lifted the rupiah, said analysts at Commerzbank. “The markets are pricing in an optimistic scenario over the next five years. The fact is that it is now or never for the technocrats to convince the president to implement the difficult but necessary reforms.” 

The Turkish lira weakened 1.6% as concerns about the central bank’s foreign currency reserves resurfaced, undermining gains a day earlier after Turkey’s main opposition candidate took office as Istanbul mayor.

The central bank bolstering reserves raises “fears that the country is overstating its ability to defend itself in a fresh lira crisis”, Capital market’s Gambarini said. Stocks in Istanbul slipped 1.4%.

Russia’s rouble ticked 0.4% lower ahead of special counsel Robert Mueller's long-awaited report on Russia’s role in the 2016 US election, which could have potential implications for US sanctions against Moscow.

SA’s rand was softer, retreating from gains last session logged on a rise in economic growth in major trading partner China and as retail sales came in better than forecasts, offering hope the economy could shake off the impact of nationwide power outages over February and March.

Poland’s zloty fell after data showed Polish producer prices missed forecast in March. Industrial output, however, rose above forecast last month.

Reuters