September 28, 2018 / 9:44 AM / 3 months ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Emerging FX take a breather while Turkey's lira shines

* Emerging stocks on track for 2nd month of losses

* Turkey’s lira strengthens nearly 10 percent in September

* Asian currencies under pressure

By Karin Strohecker

LONDON, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Turkey’s lira chalked up small gains on Friday to confirm its position as September’s best performing currency with many of its peers in line for monthly gains though developing equities remained under pressure.

Rising U.S. Treasury yields, a strong dollar, the U.S.-China trade war and crises in Turkey and Argentina have battered emerging market currencies over much of the summer.

Following seven straight months of losses, the lira strengthened as much as 1 percent on the day, ventured below the psychological 6-to-the-dollar level and was on track for a near-10 percent gain against the dollar.

Markets were taking heart that the standoff between Washington and Ankara over the fate of a U.S. pastor could be resolved soon and from recent assurances by President Tayyip Erdogan on central bank independence after policy makers delivered a bumper 6.25 percentage point rate hike.

“Clearly President Erdogan has his views on the central bank, and how it should conduct itself ... but what he said this week was seen as a signal that he is giving some time to the central bank,” said Kaan Nazli, senior economist emerging markets debt at Neuberger Berman.

“Turkey’s government is getting a bit the benefit of the doubt at this point, especially (Finance Minister Berat) Albayrak. And overall, the pressure on emerging markets is easing anyway.”

Currencies elsewhere painted a similar picture. Treading water on the day, South Africa’s rand, Russia’s rouble , Mexico’s peso and the Brazilian real all looked on track for monthly gains following losses in August.

However, Asian markets painted a more sombre picture. China, yuan was on track for its sixth straight months in the red as trade woes weighed.

Vulnerable to foreign investment flows due to sizeable current account deficits, Indonesia’s rupiah, Philippine peso and India’s rupee were all in line for monthly losses, the latter the worst performing currency across Asia.

Meanwhile, emerging stock markets snapped a two day winning streak to weaken 0.3 percent on Friday. The broader index was pulled lower by falls in heavyweight South Korea where Samsung shares tumbled more than 2 percent after the chipmaker’s chairman continued in his role despite an indictment for allegedly sabotaging labour union activities. Bourses from Moscow to Johannesburg and Warsaw tracked developed markets lower.

Meanwhile shares in China were higher ahead of a week-long national holiday with blue-chips stocks and the Shanghai Composite index gaining around 0.8 percent.

MSCI’s broader emerging market benchmark is on track for a second straight month of losses.

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

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 Richard Balmforth)

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