* MSCI EM stocks index falls from 31-month peak
* Hungarian, Czech FX muted after weak inflation
* South African rand comes off 8-month high
* Russia’s rouble steady on overnight oil gains
Nov 10 (Reuters) - Turkey’s lira led losses on Tuesday as emerging markets in Europe, Middle East and Africa came off a strong rally on news of major progress in a coronavirus vaccine, although concerns over the pandemic’s economic impact persisted.
Trade-exposed currencies had rallied on Monday after drugmakers Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE flagged a 90% efficacy rate for their vaccine, while Joe Biden’s taking of the presidency raised hopes of calmer U.S. trade policies.
The lira fell 2.3% after surging more than 5% on Monday, as it also benefited from near-term expectations of an interest rate hike, after changes to Turkey’s top economic officials.
The currency had seen its best day since the aftermath of a 2018 financial crisis. Still, it was trading dangerously close to a record low.
South Africa’s rand retreated from an eight-month high, shedding about 0.7% to the dollar. The South African economy was among the hardest hit by coronavirus-driven lockdowns in the emerging market space, and is expected to struggle with elevated debt levels in the mid-term.
Losses in the Russian rouble were mitigated by an overnight jump in oil prices. Still, the currency was pressured by expectations that a Biden presidency may take a tougher stance on Moscow.
Hungary’s forint was flat to the euro, having missed out on Monday’s rally after the country outlined new, partial lockdown measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus. October inflation also came in below expectations, pointing to pressure on consumption from the pandemic.
The Czech crown retreated to the euro after October inflation missed forecasts. Central European markets have come under pressure recently due to a rise in coronavirus infections in the region.
While news of the vaccine had sparked an immediate rally, analysts were sceptical over its availability and long-term efficacy. They also said the economic scars of the pandemic would persist well beyond the advent of a cure.
“Having said all that though, we are a step closer than yesterday in finding the cure for this virus, which combined with Biden’s victory, may allow investors to jump back into the action and push risk-linked assets back up,” said Charalambos Pissouros, senior market analyst at JFD Group.
Emerging market stocks fell 0.4% off a more than 2-1/2 year high, with Asian bourses retreating from strong gains.
Elsewhere, Peru was plunged into political upheaval after President Martín Vizcarra was ousted by the Congress on Monday in an impeachment vote over corruption allegations. For GRAPHIC on emerging market FX performance in 2020, see tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging index performance in 2020, see tmsnrt.rs/2OusNdX
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