June 29, 2018 / 9:15 AM / a year ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Weak dollar and China measures lift emerging stocks and FX

* China mainland stocks bounce as Beijing eases investment curbs

* Washington set to activate tariffs on China goods on July 6

* Yuan on track for biggest monthly fall on record

By Karin Strohecker

LONDON, June 29 (Reuters) - Emerging markets were ending the week on a high with stocks clocking the biggest daily gains in over a year and many currencies sailing higher - though China’s yuan looked on track for its worst month on record amid trade tensions with the United States.

MSCI’s emerging market equity benchmark snapped a four-day losing streak to jump 1.8 percent – its biggest daily rise since March 2017 – thanks to hefty gains in Asia.

Chinese mainland stocks bounced off their two year lows hit on Thursday to soar some 2.6 percent higher - their biggest daily gains in nearly 2 years - after Beijing eased foreign investment limits.

China unveiled on Thursday a long-anticipated easing of foreign investment curbs on sectors including banking, the automotive and heavy industries, and agriculture as Beijing moved to fulfil its promise to open its markets further.

Despite the gains on Friday, the CSI300 and Shanghai Composite are the world’s two worst-performing major indexes this year, and are set for their worst monthly performances since January 2016.

Meanwhile the broader emerging index is also down more than 5 percent on the month and nearly 10 percent on the quarter due to hefty losses in recent weeks as concerns over a looming trade war between the world’s two largest economies have heightened.

Trade tensions are set to remain high, with the U.S. administration due to activate tariffs on Chinese goods worth $34 billion on July 6, which is expected to prompt a tit-for-tat response from Beijing.

The jitters the trade tensions have sent through markets have also hit emerging currencies in recent weeks.

Despite the dollar dropping 0.6 percent against a basket of currencies on the day, China’s yuan was treading water and set for its biggest monthly fall on record, on track for a 3 percent decline against the greenback.

For an interactive chart comparing Chinese stock markets and yuan exchange rates versus other markets around the world, click: tmsnrt.rs/2Kff2Sx

“The renminbi was arguably the most expensive currency in the world a month ago and I think they painted themselves in the corner a little bit with that because they wanted to be seen as a stable currency,” said Bryan Carter, head of emerging market fixed income at BNP Paribas Asset Management.

“The tariffs gave them a perfect excuse to absorb the growth impact through a medium scale repricing in the exchange rate, but we think that it is over.”

Meanwhile Beijing’s central bank pledged it would ensure that market liquidity remained “reasonably ample”.

However, Turkey’s lira and South Africa’s rand took comfort from the weaker dollar, both strengthening 0.4 percent while Mexico’s peso and Russia’s rouble gained 0.2 percent.

The lira is on track for its second week of gains, adding more than 2 percent since Monday, but that comes in the wake of hefty falls earlier in June sparked by concerns over Turkey’s monetary policy in the face of stubbornly high inflation.

President Tayyip Erdogan’s economic advisers Cemil Ertem said on Friday he expected second-quarter growth of around 5.5-6 percent, with expansion following a path of slow rebalancing on a downward trend and attaining stability. Many investors are concerned that Turkey’s economy is overheating.

Yet the lira, the rand and the rouble are all on track to end the month with a loss.

For GRAPHIC on emerging market FX performance in 2018 according to JP Morgan indexes, see tmsnrt.rs/2e7eoml For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging index performance 2018, see tmsnrt.rs/2dZbdP5

For TOP NEWS across emerging markets

For CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see

For TURKISH market report, see

For RUSSIAN market report, see (Reporting by Karin Strohecker; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

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