LONDON, Jan 26 (Reuters) - A slide in the oil price back below $30 a barrel and renewed worries about a slowing Chinese economy pushed emerging equities lower on Tuesday with Chinese, Russian and Middle Eastern assets leading the falls.
Chinese mainland shares tumbled more than 6 percent in a late selling spree to close at their lowest level since early December 2014.
The rouble followed a fall of over 2 percent in Brent crude prices as Middle Eastern producers showed no signs of cutting output any time soon.
Meanwhile, big year-on-year falls in Chinese rail freight volumes and coal imports from Australia, Indonesia and Mongolia added to investor concerns about an economic slowdown in the world’s biggest energy consumer.
“It seems as if any kind of bad news is creating volatility,” said Per Hammarlund, chief emerging markets strategist at SEB. “Essentially it’s a risk on/risk off mood and oil has been one of the factors prompting this sell off.”
The benchmark emerging equity index was down 1.6 percent , with oil producers feeling the pressure.
Russian dollar-denominated stocks fell more than 3 percent whilst the rouble sold off 2.2 percent against the dollar to around 81 per dollar. The Kazakh tenge lost around 1.2 percent.
Middle Eastern bourses were in the red, with Qatar down 1.6 percent, Dubai down 1.9 percent and Saudi Arabia down 1.6 percent.
A raft of poor economic activity data weighed on Asian markets. Korean shares fell 1.2 percent after weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter GDP data, with the won losing 0.4 percent against the dollar.
The Singapore dollar edged down after factory output suffered its largest slump in eight months in December , whilst the Thai baht lost 0.1 percent after exports fell far more in 2015 than in the previous two years.
In Eastern Europe the Polish zloty was back near four-year lows against the euro, down 0.6 percent on the day after data showed the jobless rate rose to 9.8 percent in December. This was only partly offset by a 3.6 percent rise in GDP in 2015.
Moody’s said that Poland’s larger-than-expected deficits were credit negative and saw further downside risks to its 2017 budgetary performance.
Hungary’s central bank will meet today, but analysts expect it to keep rates on hold at a record low of 1.35 percent as it is thought unlikely to act before the ECB. The forint was trading 0.2 percent weaker against the euro.
Nigeria’s central bank will also meet, with rates expected to stay on hold at 11 percent. The market is instead waiting to see if authorities ease currency controls and allow the naira to depreciate.
“It’s just a matter of time before they have to let their currency weaken. They need to move by some 20 percent at least,” said Hammarlund.
Turkey’s central bank said there was a possibility inflation could hit double digits in January, adding that maintaining a wide interest rate corridor reduced the need for interim rate-setting meetings. The Turkish lira weakened 0.3 percent versus the dollar.
The South African rand lost 0.4 percent. Standard & Poor’s warned that weak economic growth and government bailouts of state-owned companies could see the country downgraded to junk soon.
For GRAPHIC on emerging market FX performance 2016, see link.reuters.com/jus35t
For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging index performance 2016, see link.reuters.com/weh36s
For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging Europe performance 2016, see link.reuters.com/jun28s
For GRAPHIC on MSCI frontier index performance 2016, see link.reuters.com/zyh97s
For CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see
For TURKISH market report, see
For RUSSIAN market report, see ) (Editing by Hugh Lawson)