EMERGING MARKETS-Hungary forint dips before rate decision

LONDON, Sept 25 Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:52am EDT

LONDON, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Emerging stocks and bonds steadied on Tuesday, and the forint fell ahead of a Hungarian rate decision that has markets on edge after a cut that surprised most economists last month.

Sixteen of 21 analysts polled by Reuters expect the bank to keep its 6.75 percent base rate - the European Union's highest - on hold, though five predict a cut and dealers say the market has priced in a cut.

The situation was the same ahead of the decision to cut rates last month at a time when the government's unorthodox policy course and brinkmanship with the IMF has raised nerves over Hungary.

Emerging markets in general have risen this month following the announcement of a third round of U.S. quantitative easing and a European Central Bank bond-buying programme which eased fears over some of the world's major economies.

But the shine has come off high-yielding markets in recent days on resurfacing worries about global growth and euro zone countries Spain and Greece.

Emerging stocks were unchanged on the day but have fallen 1.5 percent from 4-1/2 month highs set earlier this month.

Emerging sovereign debt spreads were steady at 300 basis points over U.S. Treasuries, while emerging European currencies were steady to softer.

The forint fell nearly half a percent in early trade.

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