EMERGING MARKETS-Fed, BOJ uncertainty keep emerging assets in red for week

LONDON, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Emerging equities were set to end the week with the biggest weekly loss since early-May, receiving little respite from fading expectations of a rate rise next week from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The benchmark emerging stocks index was stuck near flat levels on Friday. While weak U.S. data has reduced chances of a September Fed rate rise, a recent steepening of bond yield curves in developed markets - with a wider gap between short- and long-dated yields - is making investors wary of emerging markets.

A steeper U.S. curve strengthens the appeal of risk-free bonds and usually hurts the case for holding lower quality emerging assets.

Emerging stocks have fallen around 2 percent this week, and data from Bank of America Merrill Lynch showed inflows into emerging equity and bond funds slowing to a trickle before next week’s central bank meetings in Japan and the United States.

Dollar bond yield spreads versus Treasuries have widened 15 basis points this week.

“Yield curves steepening in G3 weighted on risk sentiment and emerging markets over the week, but now the steepening is losing steam,” BNP Paribas said in a note to clients.

Fed policymakers had last week flagged the possibility of a rate hike, making investors cautious, but with weak U.S. August retail sales and manufacturing output, markets reckon on just a 12 percent probability of a hike next week, according to the CME FedWatch tool.

Focus was on Russia where the rouble slipped 0.4 percent against the dollar before a central bank rate-setting meeting which is expected to deliver a 50 basis point cut to 10 percent, according to a Reuters poll.

Russian 10-year bond yields have risen in recent days in line with the general emerging markets pullback but remain close to 2-1/2-year lows hit recently.

“We think the (central bank) tone will remain slightly hawkish and this could offset any initial negative rouble reaction,” ING analysts said in a note.

But South Africa’s rand firmed 0.9 percent and is up 2 percent for the week, making up ground after its recent steep falls due to political turmoil in the governing ANC party.

Ukraine’s hryvnia was another outperformer, up over 1 percent against the dollar and set to end the week 3 percent firmer after the IMF approved a long-awaited loan disbursement to Ukraine of about $1 billion.

This was less than the originally planned $1.7 billion, with the IMF saying it represented a “re-phasing” of the country’s bail out programme.

The Hungarian forint was flat against the euro but could firm if the outlook on its sovereign credit rating is lifted by S&P later on Friday.

“Everyone is waiting for Hungary to be upgraded - it is just a matter of time, but it is tricky with the political situation being what it is and Hungary being such a thorn in the side of the EU,” said Per Hammarlund, chief emerging markets strategist at SEB.

For GRAPHIC on emerging market FX performance 2016, see

For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging index performance 2016, see

For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging Europe performance 2016, see

For GRAPHIC on MSCI frontier index performance 2016, see

For CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see

For TURKISH market report, see

For RUSSIAN market report, see )

Emerging Markets Prices from Reuters Equities Latest Net Chg % Chg % Chg

on year

Morgan Stanley Emrg Mkt Indx 889.42 +0.44 +0.05 +12.00

Czech Rep 865.58 +1.10 +0.13 -9.49

Poland 1743.02 -2.95 -0.17 -6.25

Hungary 28165.30 +26.19 +0.09 +17.74

Romania 6965.21 +25.43 +0.37 -0.56

Greece 551.95 +0.02 +0.00 -12.58

Russia 970.36 -0.57 -0.06 +28.18

South Africa 45565.97 -147.47 -0.32 -0.51

Turkey 76619.57 -433.97 -0.56 +6.82

China 3002.67 -20.84 -0.69 -15.16

India 28582.60 +169.71 +0.60 +9.44

Currencies Latest Prev Local Local

close currency currency

% change % change

in 2016

Czech Rep 27.02 27.02 -0.01 -0.09

Poland 4.32 4.32 +0.08 -1.45

Hungary 309.29 309.50 +0.07 +1.73

Romania 4.45 4.44 -0.13 +1.56

Serbia 123.04 123.05 +0.01 -1.28

Russia 64.98 64.71 -0.42 +12.27

Kazakhstan 338.80 339.30 +0.15 +0.50

Ukraine 25.82 26.08 +1.01 -7.23

South Africa 14.10 14.24 +0.96 +9.62

Kenya 101.20 101.10 -0.10 +0.99

Israel 3.76 3.77 +0.28 +3.35

Turkey 2.97 2.97 +0.02 -1.70

China 6.67 6.67 +0.00 -2.68

India 66.91 66.85 -0.08 -1.06

Brazil 3.30 3.30 +0.02 +19.94

Mexico 19.31 19.34 +0.17 -11.07

Debt Index Strip Spd Chg %Rtn Index

Sov’gn Debt EMBIG 371 3 .05 7 60.69 1