|03 December, 2019

EMERGING MARKETS-Stocks slip as U.S. tariffs on Brazil, Argentina spark fresh trade woes

EM stocks touch over 1-month low

Emerging market stocks dipped on Tuesday after the United States said it would restore tariffs on metal imports from Brazil and Argentina, raising concerns of yet another trade war for the world's largest economy.

But losses were limited as markets awaited further clarity on the tariffs, which were tweeted by U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday without any details. 

A basket of emerging market stocks fell as much as 0.4% to a more than one-month low. Chinese stocks touched their lowest level in more than three months during the session, but ended slightly higher.

"(The tariffs) bring about the possibility of a trade war on multiple fronts," said William Jackson, chief emerging markets economist at Capital Economics.

Given the economic impact of the drawn-out Sino-U.S. trade dispute, which has hurt global growth and dented business sentiment, investors are wary of the fallout from a new trade conflict with the Latin American export heavyweights.

However, analysts warned that the direct impact on exports from Brazil and Argentina might be limited.

"On a macro perspective, metal exports from Brazil and Argentina to the United States aren't very large, so it shouldn't have much of an impact on them," Jackson said.

The Brazilian real firmed 0.3% against the dollar on Monday, while the Argentine peso ARS= was nearly flat.

South African stocks dropped to a near two-month low on Tuesday ahead of third-quarter GDP data, which is expected to show the economy expanding by 0.1% year-on-year. The rand was also slightly weaker ahead of the data, due later in the day.

The Turkish lira softened as inflation data for November came in slightly short of expectations. The reading could prompt a sizeable rate cut next week from the central bank, which is eyeing an annual inflation target of below 12%. 

Broader emerging market currencies were largely muted, as the U.S. dollar was undercut by disappointing manufacturing data, as well as news of the Latin American tariffs. 

Currencies in central and eastern European economies including Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic were largely flat against the euro.

(Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich) ((Ambar.Warrick@thomsonreuters.com; +91-80-6749-6625; Reuters Messaging: ambar.warrick.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net; Twitter: @AmbarWarrick))

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