London - Emerging equities edged higher on Tuesday as Chinese stocks rebounded from five-year closing lows, but short-term Ukrainian debt prices traded close to record lows on fears of a default.
The CSI300 index of the largest Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings rose 0.5 percent on expectations China's annual parliamentary session will not introduce more aggressive reforms that could slow growth further.
On Monday, the index dropped to its lowest close since February 2009 after data showed Chinese exports unexpectedly declined in February.
Worries about a China slowdown are weighing on export-driven emerging markets. Geopolitical tension in Ukraine has also hit broader markets.
“Ukraine has been dominating the landscape and emerging market moves, but now we are in a passage where the situation is stuck and the market needs to move forward,” said Regis Chatellier, emerging markets strategist at Societe Generale. “There is a big tail risk that the situation in Ukraine deteriorates.”
The MSCI emerging equities index gained 0.2 percent and emerging sovereign debt spreads inched in by 1 basis point to 338 bps over U.S. Treasuries.
Most emerging European currencies were little changed from Monday. The rupee, last year described as one of the Fragile Five emerging currencies, hit a 7-month high.
Indian stocks fell half a percent from record highs set on Monday, with investors betting that the opposition BJP party, seen as more reform-friendly than the incumbent Congress, will form the next government.
Ukraine's dollar debt weakened after the country's finance minister said on Monday that it lacked enough foreign exchange reserves to meet 2014 debt payments.
Ukraine state energy firm Naftogaz's September 2014 dollar bond, seen at risk of restructuring, fell 1 point to 84.5 , close to record lows. The country's dollar bond due June 2014 touched a record low below 91 before edging up on the day.
The World Bank said late on Monday that it planned to provide Ukraine up to $3 billion in 2014, however, and the Ukrainian central bank said it was ready to buy dollars at 9.2359 per dollar.
Some analysts were more positive on Ukraine.
“It seems very clear that the IMF/WB/EIB/EBRD and whoever else will provide the necessary funds to pull Ukraine through in the coming years, assuming that the political backdrop not only calms but also improves,” Simon Quijano-Evans, emerging markets strategist at Commerzbank, said in a client note.
Meanwhile, Russia is expected to raise the equivalent of up to $7 billion in international debt, after sending banks a request for proposals for a potential bond offering, market sources told Thomson Reuters news and information service IFR on Monday..
Russia's dollar bonds rose on Tuesday but are down on the year.