Vaccine Progress Spurs Optimism in Emerging Markets

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Emerging-market stocks and currencies gained last week amid optimism progress is being made toward developing coronavirus vaccines, and as more nations roll back lockdowns. Sentiment was tempered as the week progressed by signs U.S.-China tensions increasing once again, with the Chinese foreign minister warning some in the U.S. are pushing relations into a “New Cold War” on Sunday. This followed escalating rhetoric from President Donald Trump and Senate legislation that may lead to delisting of Chinese companies from American stock exchanges following China’s announcement of plans to impose a national security law on Hong Kong, which was was rocked again by heavy protest Sunday.

The following is a roundup of emerging-market news and highlights for this week through May 22:

Highlights:

The U.S. threw its weight behind one of the fastest-moving experimental solutions to the coronavirus pandemic, pledging as much as $1.2 billion to AstraZeneca Plc to help make the University of Oxford’s Covid vaccine

An experimental vaccine from the U.S. biotechnology company Moderna Inc. showed signs it can create an immune-system response to fend off the coronavirusRead: U.S. Raises Ante in Vaccine Race With $1.2 Billion for Astra (2)Leading Chinese vaccine developer CanSino Biologics Inc. has signed a deal to test and sell a separate Canadian vaccine candidateFederal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank is prepared to use its full range of tools and leave the benchmark lending rate near zero until the economy is back on track; he reiterated that more fiscal aid may be neededFed policy makers saw the coronavirus posing a severe threat to the economy when they met last month and were also concerned by the risks to financial stabilityChina has abandoned its usual practice of setting a numerical target for economic growth this year due to the turmoil caused by the coronavirus; it reiterated a pledge to implement the first phase of its trade deal with the U.S.China projected defense spending growth of 6.6% this year, the slowest increase since at least 1991; the nation is pushing ahead with major investment in new infrastructure, assigning it top importance this yearChina announced plans to rein in dissent by writing a new national security law into Hong Kong’s charter, prompting democracy advocates to call for protestsProtesters held their biggest rally in months on Sunday, with more demonstrations planned for later in the weekPresident Donald Trump escalated his rhetoric against China, suggesting that leader Xi Jinping is behind a “disinformation and propaganda attack on the United States and Europe”The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation that could lead to Chinese companies such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Baidu Inc. being barred from listing on U.S. stock exchangesU.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo broke with past U.S. practice and issued a statement congratulating Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen ahead of her inauguration. China denounced the message as “wrong and very dangerous”Tsai urged China’s Xi Jinping to “find a way to co-exist” with the island’s democratic government as she started her second termArgentina will improve the terms of its offer to restructure $65 billion of overseas bonds after sinking into default when it failed to make an interest paymentSouth Africa’s Reserve Bank cut its benchmark rate for the fourth time in four months to support an economy forecast to slump deeper into recession; Turkey’s central bank delivered a ninth straight rate cut in less than a year after measures to prop up the lira drove out foreign investors; Indonesia’s central bank unexpectedly left its benchmark unchanged to bolster the currency; Bank of Thailand cut its key rate to a record and said it was ready to use additional policy tools if neededIndia’s central bank cut interest rates in an unscheduled announcement, ramping up support for an economy it expects will contract for the first time in more than four decadesBrazil overtook the U.K. to become the world’s third most-infected nation and reported record daily deaths; government still hasn’t picked a new health minister following Nelson Teich’s resignationRussia sees its economy contracting 5% this year, according to updated forecast from Russian Economy MinistryPresident Vladimir Putin may announce a snap ballot within weeks on proposed changes to the constitution that allow him to sidestep term limits, said people familiar the matter

This article was originally published on finance.yahoo.com/news/.

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