June 14, 2018 / 9:34 AM / 2 months ago

EMERGING MARKETS-China data knocks emerging stocks, soft dollar lifts FX

* China industrial output, investment, retail sales disappoint

* China central bank surprises markets with no hike post-Fed

* Turkey’s lira, South Africa’s rand strengthen 1% against dollar

By Karin Strohecker

LONDON, June 14 (Reuters) - Weak Chinese data, rising trade tensions and a more hawkish U.S. Federal Reserve sent shivers through emerging market stocks on Thursday, but currencies bounced as the dollar weakened ahead of a possible turning-point European Central Bank meeting.

The Fed raised interest rates on Thursday as expected but struck a more hawkish tone by forecasting slightly faster tightening, with the spectre of higher borrowing costs weighing on developed as well as emerging market stocks.

Figures out of China showing the world’s second-largest economy is finally starting to cool under the weight of the government’s multi-year crackdown on riskier lending, which is pushing up borrowing costs for companies and consumers, did little to calm investors’ nerves.

Beijing’s central bank also parted from its usual course and left borrowing costs unchanged after the Fed hike and news that U.S. President Donald Trump will meet with top trade advisers on Thursday to decide whether to activate threatened tariffs on billions of dollars in Chinese goods.

“That backdrop is not exactly what one would call friendly for emerging markets: a Fed set to keep tightening policy, and a real-economy trade spat,” Rabobank analysts said in a note to clients.

“China is walking more of a tightrope than markets believe – and those data underline that issue clearly,” they added.

In Europe, the ECB will debate on Thursday whether to end its asset purchases by year-end, in what would be its biggest step towards dismantling crisis-era stimulus.

MSCI’s emerging stocks index fell 1 percent as Asian markets took a beating with export heavyweight South Korea tumbled nearly 2 percent while peer Taiwan dropped 1.5 percent.

But the dollar reversing gains ahead of a key European Central Bank meeting helped emerging currencies strengthen against the greenback following several days of weakness.

Turkey’s lira, seen as more vulnerable to U.S. interest rate rises due to its large external financing needs, snapped a three day losing streak to jump 1 percent.

However, the currency has still tumbled nearly 18 percent since the start of the year, with investors concerned over President Tayyip Erdogan tightening his grip on monetary policy in the wake of the June 24 election.

South Africa’s rand raced more than 1 percent higher, while Mexico’s peso - a weather wane for trade sentiment - strengthened 0.4 percent.

The peso has been under pressure amid drawn out negotiations called by Donald Trump with Canada and the United States to modernize the NAFTA trade agreement, which hit a deadlock since Washington slapped steel and aluminum tariffs on trade partners.

Meanwhile a raft of central banks in economies that have linked their currencies to the dollar such as Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, UAE and others raised their interest rates to follow the Fed, as expected.

For GRAPHIC on emerging market FX performance 2018, see tmsnrt.rs/2e7eoml For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging index performance 2018, see tmsnrt.rs/2dZbdP5

For TOP NEWS across emerging markets

For CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see

For TURKISH market report, see

For RUSSIAN market report, see

Reporting by Karin Strohecker Editing by Hugh Lawson

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