LONDON, June 20 (Reuters) - Speculation that China may cut interest rates helped emerging market stocks eke out their first rise in six days on Wednesday and steadied most currencies, though pre-election stress kept Turkey’s lira near an all-time low.
Investors were cautiously dipping back in the water, having been savaged again on Tuesday when the United States and China ratcheted up trade tariff threats.
MSCI’s widely-followed 24-country EM stocks index gained 0.6 percent, having lost 1.8 percent in the rout. China’s main bourses , which had plunged almost 4 percent, saw a 0.4 percent bounce.
Under-fire currencies also got some respite, although the dollar looked in no mood to stay shackled for long.
China’s yuan was helped away from a 5-month low by a firmer-than-expected central bank fixing, having posted its biggest fall in 1-1/2 years in the previous session.
South Africa’s rand clawed off its lowest level of the year too, Mexico’s peso edged up to 20.47 per dollar, while Russia’s rouble snapped a four-day run of falls as markets waited to see if OPEC and its allies would cut output.
“The market seems a little bit better today, but in my view this is not finished,” said Credit Agricole’s head of emerging market research.
“I think it is reasonable to expect more noise (from the U.S.-China trade tensions), so even if we have relief for now I think we should remain extremely cautious.”
Turkey was one place were caution was clearly entrenched ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections on Sunday that will either see Tayyip Erodogan tighten his grip on power or result in a more split parliament.
The lira was in the red again at 4.75 per dollar, just off the 4.92 all-time low struck last month. Most of Ankara’s dollar-denominated bonds covering the next 20 years were testing record lows too.
The exact scale of the recent emerging market sell-off was also starting to show.
Foreign investors have pulled about $5.5 billion out of EM stocks and bonds since the U.S. Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike last week, data from the Institute of International Finance showed. They sold more than $320 million of Chinese stocks on Tuesday alone, according to the figures.
Stocks followers were also gearing up for MSCI’s annual announcement on which countries get included in its multi trillion dollar global benchmarks. This year, Saudi Arabia and Argentina are the main focus. Details are due around 2030 GMT.
In central and eastern Europe, Polish stocks jumped more than 1.8 percent after five days of falls and the latest drop in its currency after a change in tack by Hungary’s central bank left Warsaw looking more appealing.
Hungary’s forint dipped, having rallied from over three-year lows, after the central bank said its ultra-loose monetary policy probably would stay in place for as long as previously flagged.
Both the forint and Budapest’s bonds have been pummelled in recent months as the National Bank of Hungary (NBH) has failed to halt a rise in bond market costs.
“For now, we expect that a change in communication from the NBH will be sufficient to stabilise the forint,” analysts at Goldman Sachs said in a note.
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Editing by Mark Potter