September 25, 2019 / 8:28 AM / 20 days ago

EMERGING MARKETS-U.S.-China trade rhetoric, Trump impeachment inquiry pull stocks lower

* Asian stocks lead EM markets lower

* South Africa’s rand down nearly 1%

* Czech National Bank expected to hold rates

By Agamoni Ghosh

Sept 25 (Reuters) - Emerging market shares slid to their lowest level in nearly three weeks on Wednesday as the latest exchanges between Washington and Beijing and political uncertainty in the United States made investors wary of betting on riskier assets.

U.S. President Donald Trump delivered a stinging rebuke over China’s trade practices on Tuesday at the United Nations General Assembly, saying he would not accept a “bad deal” in U.S.-China trade negotiations.

China’s top diplomat hit back saying Beijing had no intention to “play ‘Game of Thrones’ on the world stage” and warned Washington to respect its sovereignty.

The bitter exchange of words came just a week before high-level talks are scheduled between the world’s two largest economies, denting hopes that a deal or even an interim arrangement can be reached.

MSCI’s index for emerging market stocks fell 0.6%, with Hong Kong and South Korea tumbling more than 1% and China mainland shares nearly matching those falls.

Further deepening worries was the call for an impeachment inquiry into Trump by U.S. lawmakers, increasing the prospects of prolonged political uncertainty in the world’s largest economy.

“Both of those factors have played into the moves today, with Asian markets taking the flak in particular,” said Jason Tuvey, senior EM economist at Capital Economics, London.

“We think trade tensions will only deteriorate in the coming months and add to the global headwinds, including growth, that have so far rattled markets this year.”

Currencies mostly headed south, with the high-yielding South African rand shedding nearly 1% against the dollar.

The rouble fell 0.4%, additionally pressured by lower oil prices but support from local month-end tax payments limited its slide.

In emerging Europe, focus was on the Czech crown, down marginally, ahead of the central bank’s rate decision.

The Czech National Bank (CNB) is expected to hold rates and possibly keep them unchanged through 2020 as it balances inflationary pressures at home with policy easing and economic weakness abroad, a Reuters poll showed earlier this week.

For GRAPHIC on emerging market FX performance 2019, see tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging index performance 2019, 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 Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru Editing by Gareth Jones)

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