April 10, 2019 / 9:15 AM / 13 days ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Stocks muted as growth fears weigh; focus on Turkey's lira

* IMF cuts global economic outlook, weighs on sentiment

* Turkish lira edges higher after economic reform plan

By Agamoni Ghosh

April 10 (Reuters) - Emerging market shares were little changed on Wednesday as investors’ appetite for risk waned following a cut by the International Monetary Fund to its global growth forecast and fresh trade tensions between the United States and Europe.

Currencies in the developing world were mostly higher against a softer dollar, with Turkey’s lira edging higher as investors assessed the implications of a new economic programme to boost the country’s ailing banks.

MSCI’s index for emerging market stocks edged a fraction higher with mainland Chinese shares recouping earlier losses to end higher, but Hong Kong shares ending lower. Gains on most bourses were limited.

Stocks in Moscow and Johannesburg edged up, but those in Istanbul and Mumbai slid.

Investor sentiment was cautious after the International Monetary Fund said the global economy was slowing more than expected and a sharp downturn could require world leaders to coordinate stimulus measures.

Most emerging currencies rose, with those in emerging European markets eyeing the European Central Bank’s monetary policy meeting later in the day, where officials are expected to leave borrowing costs unchanged on sluggish growth indicators.

The Hungarian forint and the Polish zloty were slightly higher against the euro, while the Czech crown was flat.

Turkey’s lira edged up as investors gauged what a new economic push for the country’s struggling banking sector meant for the currency.

Turkish Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said on Wednesday that 28 billion lira ($4.9 billion) of debt securities would be given to state banks as part of a series of measures to strengthen their capital positions, and priority for borrowings would be given to strategic sectors.

Gains were limited for the lira as Istanbul’s decision to stick to the purchase of Russian S-400 missile defence systems weighed on sentiment, as the decision has put Turkey at odds with the United States.

“There is definitely a risk of diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and Turkey increasing on the back of Istanbul’s intentions to purchase these defence systems which in turn may have an impact on the lira,” said Piotr Matys, emerging market FX strategist at Rabobank.

Market participants were also increasingly concerned about Argentina’s peso which has been hovering at record lows and analysts believe renewed market volatility could spark another currency crisis for Latin America’s third-largest economy.

For TOP NEWS across emerging markets

For CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see

For TURKISH market report, see

For RUSSIAN market report, see (Reporting by Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Potter)

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