* IMF cuts global economic growth forecasts for 2018 and 2019
* Turkey to announce plan to combat rampant inflation
* S.Africa’s rand firms; Finance Minister Nene to attend IMF meet
By Aaron Saldanha
Oct 9 (Reuters) - Emerging market stocks dipped close to 17-month lows on Tuesday as the IMF cut its 2018 and 2019 global growth forecasts, putting more pressure on developing economies already facing tighter financial conditions and capital outflows.
The International Monetary Fund’s chief economist, Maurice Obstfeld, said the susceptibility of emerging markets to large global shocks has risen.
MSCI’s main emerging market stocks index was 0.1 percent lower, around levels last hit in May 2017.
Blue-chip Chinese stocks extended losses a day after their biggest one-day decline in more than two years, on concerns over growth despite Beijing’s steps to support the economy amid an escalating trade war with Washington.
The dispute has hurt sentiment towards emerging market currencies, especially those of oil-importing countries like Turkey and India, which have been pinched by crude prices rising to multi-year highs in recent months.
China’s yuan steadied on Tuesday after hitting its lowest official close in seven weeks on Monday, as Obstfeld said he was not concerned about the Chinese government’s ability to defend its currency.
“Coupled with the shaky general risk appetite, this poses headwinds to EM FX for the time being,” wrote Chris Turner, ING’s head of foreign exchange strategy, in a note.
“The case to turn bullish on emerging markets FX isn’t strong enough, due in part to the domestically focused Fed steaming ahead and continuing increasing interest rates.”
A strong U.S. economy has led the Federal Reserve to raise rates multiple times this year, increasing the yield on holding dollars and making riskier emerging market assets less attractive. The benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yields hit their highest since May 2011 on Tuesday.
Turkey’s lira weakened 0.2 percent amid an escalating row over missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and as its finance minister prepared to announce the start of a “full-fledged fight against inflation” later in the day.
Turkish inflation hit nearly 25 percent in September, a 15-year high.
“If the plan were to include a government pledge to increase public sector wages in line with targeted inflation, that should be taken positively,” Credit Suisse’s Berna Bayazitoglu wrote in a note.
South Africa’s rand was slightly firmer as a Treasury spokesman said Finance Minister Nene would travel to Indonesia for an IMF meeting, a day after a media source reported him as asking President Cyril Ramaphosa to sack him.
Pakistan’s rupee plunged about 7 percent in a de facto devaluation, while local stocks snapped a six-day skid after the government said it planned to seek a bailout from the IMF.
Brazil’s real firmed to a more than two-month closing high on Monday after far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro ran up a huge lead in the first round of voting, boosting hopes that he will tackle a growing fiscal deficit.
Brazil’s main equity index rose 4.6 percent on the news of privatisation-keen Bolsonaro’s first round result.
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For RUSSIAN market report, see (Reporting by Aaron Saldanha; Additional reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; editing by John Stonestreet)