* Pfizer and BioNTech say COVID-19 vaccine over 90% effective
* Turkish lira set for best day since early-2019
* MSCI EM stocks index at highest since early-2018
* Polish zloty rises after c.bank holds rates (Updates prices throughout; adds comments, background)
Nov 9 (Reuters) - Emerging market stocks and currencies jumped on Monday after U.S. drugmaker Pfizer Inc said its experimental COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective, while the lira led gains after a large shake-up in Turkey’s top economic policymakers.
The MSCI’s emerging markets equity index jumped 1.8% to its highest level since March 2018, while its currencies counterpart added 0.7% also supported by Joe Biden winning the U.S. presidential election over the weekend.
Pfizer and German partner BioNTech SE are the first drugmakers to release successful data from a large-scale clinical trial of a coronavirus vaccine.
The U.S. dollar steadied after sinking to a 10-week low after Biden’s win raised hopes of a less adversarial U.S. trade policy, while China’s yuan and the Mexican peso - both recent targets of U.S. trade pressure - marked strong gains.
China’s yuan jumped to a more than 28-month high to the dollar, as markets priced in improving Sino-U.S. trade relations after a change in U.S. leadership.
Turkey’s lira was the best performing currency for the day, jumping as much as 6% off a record low after the central bank’s newly-installed governor Naci Agbal vowed to “decisively” use all policy tools to rein in elevated inflation levels.
Agbal replaced Murat Uysal, who was fired by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan after barely more than a year in office. In another announcement, Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said on Sunday he was resigning for health reasons.
“The market reaction is predicated on two basic assumptions: large scale hikes coming soon (possibly even this week) and a return to policy orthodoxy,” said Cristian Maggio, head of emerging markets strategy at TD Securities.
“The former is possible though not priced in yet. The latter is very unlikely, with Erdogan remaining the loudest and most powerful adversary of rate hikes.”
The moves came in the wake of steep declines in the lira due to concerns over dwindling foreign exchange reserves, double-digit inflation and strains in Turkey’s relationship with its NATO allies.
While expectations of a rate hike set the lira for its best day in nearly two years, analysts questioned the implications of Usyal’s ouster on central bank independence.
Turkish stocks added 3%.
Other currencies in Europe, Middle East and Africa traded higher, while stocks rallied.
The polish zloty rose 0.9% against the euro after the country’s central bank held rates on Friday as it said the coronavirus outbreak’s economic impact would be less extreme in 2020.
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