headed for the steepest weekly
drop since June while currencies weakened amid growing concerns that China’s economic slowdown and Russia’s standoff with the West will spur capital outflows.
The MSCI Emerging Markets Index fell 0.9% to 935.10 as of 4:50 p.m. in Hong Kong, extending this week’s loss to 3.3%. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index posted its biggest weekly drop since October as Tencent Holdings Ltd. and China Citic Bank Corp. slumped. Russia’s Micex Index tumbled to the lowest level since 2010. South Korea’s won and Turkey’s lira lost 0.3% versus the dollar. Indonesia’s equity gauge rallied 3.2% and the rupiah erased losses after Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo received the mandate to run for president.
UBS AG, Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. cut their forecasts for Chinese growth after disappointing data this week fueled speculation the nation may not meet its 7.5% expansion target for 2014. Crimea votes on whether to leave Ukraine and join Russia March 16 as the U.S. and Germany step up pressure on Moscow over its support for secession.
“China’s slowing growth is now confirmed,” said Attila Vajda, Singapore-based managing director at Project Asia Research & Consulting Pte. “This combined with other grim headlines such as the Crimea stand-off is definitely making investors pause and take some profit.”
Developing-nation equity funds posted a 20th week of outflows in the period ended March 12, led by $878 million of withdrawals from China funds, Citigroup Inc. said in a report today, citing data compiled by EPFR Global.