LONDON, April 23 (Reuters) - Higher U.S. Treasury yields, a firmer dollar and softer commodity prices put some pressure on emerging markets on Monday with stocks at their lowest in nearly a week and currencies weakening.
MSCI's emerging market index weakened 0.6 percent after tech-heavy bourses in Asia racked up some of the steepest losses, with Taiwan dropping more than 1 percent to trade at its lowest in more than two months.
The falls come in the wake of markets cautiously watching U.S. bond yields creep higher to peaks that have roiled markets in the past. The rise in yields also lifted the dollar and weighed on commodity prices, with crude and copper futures softening, though staying not far off recent highs.
The market was also focused on the health of the global economy, though the latest batch of data showed that businesses across the euro zone kept their momentum as they headed into the second quarter, maintaining a still-solid but more modest growth rate.
"I don't think the global environment has changed. We are still in a relatively benign, a relatively strong global growth environment despite the recent slowdown, and as a matter of fact the preliminary PMIs that came out of the eurozone corroborate that story," said Vasileios Gkionakis, co-head of strategy research at UniCredit.
While emerging market dollar bond spreads held steady in the face of rising U.S. yields, currencies did feel the pinch.
South Africa's rand tumbled more than 1 percent and hit the weakest level in more than three months against the dollar as headlines on recent protests added to wider pressure.
President Cyril Ramaphosa appealed for calm on Friday after cutting short a visit to Britain and flying to the northern city of Mahikeng to try to quell an outbreak of violent demonstrations against poor public services.
"The currency has appreciated over the past six months quite considerably – you are bound to see some squeezes in dollar-rand, especially when you see some headlines on protests and political bottelnecks," said Gkionakis.
Russia's rouble and Mexico's peso nearly matched those falls.
Meanwhile Turkey's lira, which has taken a battering in recent months, softened 0.3 percent as investors prepared for Turkey's central bank to announce its latest decision on Wednesday following last week's surprise election announcement.
Analysts polled by Reuters expect Turkish policymakers to hike interest rates at the meeting, with a 50 basis point increase in the top rate seen probable after President Tayyip Erdogan declared snap elections for June.
Meanwhile Armenia's dollar bonds traded at their lowest in at least 10 months after police detained three opposition leaders and nearly 200 protesters after demonstrations called on newly appointed Prime Minister Serzh Sarksyan to quit.
The protests, though peaceful so far, threaten to destabilise a key Russian ally in a volatile region.
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Morgan Stanley Emrg Mkt Indx 1159.22 -9.02 -0.77 +0.07
Czech Rep 1121.09 -0.17 -0.02 +3.98
Poland 2303.75 +5.55 +0.24 -6.40
Hungary 38190.22 +67.35 +0.18 -3.01
Romania 8953.00 +32.51 +0.36 +15.47
Greece 848.00 +3.30 +0.39 +5.69
Russia 1140.88 -4.92 -0.43 -1.17
South Africa 50831.37 +65.49 +0.13 -3.24
Turkey 10932.48 -1189.68 -1.06 -3.82
China 3068.80 -2.74 -0.09 -7.21
India 34547.47 +131.89 +0.38 +1.44
Currencies Latest Prev Local Local
close currency currency
% change % change
Czech Rep 25.39 25.34 -0.18 +0.56
Poland 4.18 4.17 -0.19 -0.08
Hungary 311.15 310.65 -0.16 -0.20
Romania 4.65 4.66 +0.03 +0.49
Serbia 118.10 118.10 +0.00 +0.25
Russia 61.93 61.38 -0.89 -6.90
Kazakhstan 327.16 326.51 -0.20 +1.72
Ukraine 26.12 26.16 +0.17 +7.77
South Africa 12.26 12.09 -1.41 +0.79
Kenya 99.90 99.95 +0.05 +3.20
Israel 3.54 3.53 -0.36 -1.75
Turkey 4.10 4.08 -0.51 -7.51
China 6.31 6.29 -0.18 +3.18
India 66.38 66.20 -0.26 -3.83
Brazil 3.41 3.41 -0.01 -2.95
Mexico 18.68 18.52 -0.87 +5.17
Debt Index Strip Spd Chg %Rtn Index
Sov'gn Debt EMBIG 316 -2 .12 7 87.64 1
Reporting by Karin Strohecker, graphic by Claire Milhench Editing by Gareth Jones