* Apple’s sales forecast fuels global growth concerns
* EM technology stocks hit heavily, investors rush for safety
* Turkish lira drops against Japanese yen, dollar
* S.Africa’s rand weakens
By Aaron Saldanha
Jan 3 (Reuters) - Emerging market currencies and stocks slid on Thursday as investors piled into safe-haven assets after an Apple Inc revenue warning fuelled fears about slowing global growth and sparked a sharp drop in risk sentiment.
The iPhone maker’s cut to its quarterly sales forecast, citing weak China sales as a reason, prompted weakness across world markets and investors rushed for the exits.
MSCI’s index of emerging market currencies dipped 0.3 percent, not helped by a soft dollar, while developing world stocks dropped half a percent, as shares in South Korea and Taiwan slid.
Technology stocks in emerging markets bore the brunt of the weakness. A 1.3 percent slide in the sector index left them on target for their lowest close in over two months.
Koon Chow, emerging markets strategist at UBP, said the falls that many emerging market currencies suffered in 2018 had already pre-empted a more difficult macro backdrop. Nonetheless more moves could be in store for currencies such as Turkey’s lira which traded fairly steadily in the last two months of the year.
“There needs to be a repricing lower of some of these more vulnerable currencies,” said Chow.
“These dislocations demonstrate the impact of unwinding quantitative easing on market structures and it means that the truly more vulnerable markets out there need to watch their back, so to speak.”
Turkey’s lira, which ended 2018 more than 28 percent lower, softened about 0.8 percent on Thursday.
Against the safe-haven yen, the lira tumbled as much as about 9.2 percent overnight as Japanese retail investors liquidated positions. A move of similar magnitude was last seen in August last year when Turkey was engulfed by a currency crisis.
While the lira regained a chunk of the ground it lost against the yen and dollar, it remained weak. Data showed inflation had eased for the second straight month and came in lower-than-expected at just over 20 percent in December.
“The Turkish lira was the main victim of escalating risk aversion caused by Apple,” Rabobank EM FX Strategist Piotr Matys, wrote in a note.
“We are concerned that the price action in USD/TRY implies that an important bottom may have been made in November and December and that the pair may gain a much better upside traction in Q1 ... 5.46/45 is a crucial pivot to watch in USD/TRY at this stage.”
Commodity giant South Africa’s rand weakened 0.2 percent against the greenback. It had dropped against the yen , seeing its lowest level against the Japanese currency in nearly half a year, at one point.
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For RUSSIAN market report, see (Reporting by Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru and Karin Strohecker in London; Editing by Richard Balmforth)