GLOBAL MARKETS-Risk appetite subdued on Fed uncertainty, dollar steadies
* Rupee, rupiah tumble as taper talk hits Asian currencies * Europe shares down on Fed signals, Wall St seen lower * Sterling higher after UK jobs data, BoE forecasts * Chinese shares drop on plenum's lack of details By Marc Jones LONDON, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Uncertainty about a cut in Federal Reserve stimulus and niggling doubts about the euro zone's recovery and the longevity of Britain's record low interest rates kept global markets under pressure on Wednesday. Britain's FTSE saw its biggest falls in over a month and Europe's FTSEurofirst tumbled for a second day as signs of a strengthening UK but worse-than-expected euro zone factory data hit markets from opposing sides. Investors have been buying up European assets freely in recent months on the view that its main economies are in recovery mode, but not growing rapidly enough to allow central banks such as the ECB and Bank of England to take away their stimulus. Diverging signals from Britain and the euro zone dealt both assumptions a glancing blow. Euro zone September industrial production fell slightly short of analysts forecasts. And while BoE head Mark Carney stressed his bank had no plans to raise UK rates, it was a huge upward revision to its jobs outlook that left markets wondering whether he could uphold the promise. UK government bonds suffered along with the FTSE amid the debate and the pound rallied to session highs against both the dollar and the euro. "It was a rather interesting inflation report," said John Hardy, head of FX strategy for Saxo bank. "It looks somewhat hawkish moving the employment forecast so much but that should have been countered by the signal that inflation is going down and the kicker that he could not rule out changing the employment threshold (for raising rates)." Markets had already been in a selling mood. Emerging Asian currencies and the region's shares took a beating overnight in the wake of mixed signals from Fed officials about the future for the U.S. central bank's asset-buying stimulus. Regular hostages to U.S. stimulus fortune, the Indian rupee and the Indonesian rupiah, looked to have stabilised in European trading but were nursing wounds. Earlier, Jakarta's Composite Index stumbled 2 percent to a two-month low as the rupiah hit its weakest in more than four-and-a-half years despite the central bank's surprise rate hike in the previous session. The Indian rupee also slumped, hitting a two-month low after surging consumer prices sparked fears the central bank would continue to raise interest rates and undermine economic growth at a particularly vulnerable time for the currency. "There is no fundamental reason for volatility in value of the rupee," the head of India's central bank, Raghuram Rajansaid said at a hastily arranged news conference. "At some time, it makes sense to take a deep breath." YELLEN FROM THE HILL But with a crucial hearing for Fed chair-in-waiting Janet Yellen and European third quarter growth figures both due on Thursday, the dollar and U.S. and euro government bonds were by and large in a holding pattern. "We are pausing," said National Australia Bank strategist Gavin Friend. "Any nuggets Yellen gives on her policy leaning are going to be extremely closely scrutinised. And if Q3 euro zone GDP surprises on the downside that could give the euro a kick." The worry investors have is that if the Fed starts winding down its huge stimulus global borrowing costs will rise, and as the return on developed market assets such as bonds rises, emerging markets will lose their attraction and suffer. MSCI's emerging market index lost about 1.3 percent as it notched up its 10th straight session of falls and hit its lowest levels since mid-September. Chinese shares were some of the biggest underperformers after the initial communique from a Communist Party policy meeting to set an economic blueprint for the coming decade offered few details. EURO HOLDING Futures prices pointed to opening falls of around 0.25 percent for the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average when Wall Street resumes. Amid all the surrounding FX movement, the dollar wobbled but only slightly. It was off about 0.1 percent at 99.45 yen after rising as high as 99.79 yen on Tuesday, its strongest level since Sept. 13. The dollar index inched down about 0.1 percent to 81.138. The euro was slightly lower from Asian levels at $1.3424 after the factory data, but holding well above lows set last week, when it suffered a heavy selloff after the European Central Bank cut its main rate earlier than had been expected. In commodities markets, gold gained 0.4 percent to $1,275.69 an ounce but remained not far from the previous session's four-week low. U.S. crude for December delivery edged up to $93.30 a barrel after flirting with 4-1/2 month lows, while the benchmark three-month copper contract fell 1.11 percent to $7,040 a tonne. Oil was helped as supply outages countered concerns about reduced U.S. monetary stimulus and a forecast rise in U.S. stockpiles. A lack of success in weekend talks on Iran's nuclear work cut the chance of its supplies returning to the market while Libyan exports remain disrupted by strikes and protests. "Brent seems to have found quite good support around the $105.50-$107 area and is beginning to bump along," said Christopher Bellew, an oil broker at Jefferies Bache.
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