(Bloomberg) -- Emerging-market stocks dropped to a one-month low amid speculation the Federal Reserve will reduce stimulus as early as next week. Gold producers led South Africa’s benchmark equity gauge to the biggest slump since June.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index slid 1.2 percent to 991.03 at 10:15 a.m. in New York, falling for a third day. The FTSE/JSE Africa All Shares Index led declines among major developing- nation gauges as AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. sank 7.3 percent. Stock gauges in Russia and the Philippines decreased at least 1 percent, while Brazil’s Ibovespa dropped to a four-month low. India’s rupee drove losses among 24 emerging-market currencies.

Stocks dropped after better-than-estimated U.S. retail sales data added to speculation the Fed will cut stimulus. The U.S. central bank may begin reducing its $85 billion of monthly bond purchases at its Dec. 17-18 meeting, according to 34 percent of economists surveyed Dec. 6 by Bloomberg, up from 17% in a Nov. 8 poll. Gold and silver tumbled as the U.S. dollar gained against most major global currencies.

Today’s decline “is very much a reaction to what’s happening in the States,” Julian Mayo, who helps manage about $2.7 billion in emerging-market assets as the co-chief investment officer at Charlemagne Capital Ltd. in London, said by phone. “A lot of it must already be in the price.”

The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index exchange-traded fund retreated 0.8% to $40.76. The Chicago Board Options Exchange Emerging Markets ETF Volatility Index, a measure of options prices on the fund and expectations of price swings, advanced 1.9 percent to 26.49.

The premium investors demand to own emerging-market debt over U.S. Treasuries fell three basis points, or 0.03 percentage point, to 324 basis points, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.

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