May 17, 2019 / 8:54 AM / 6 days ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Currencies at 2019 lows on trade jitters, stocks slide

May 17 (Reuters) - Emerging market currencies hit their lowest level in 2019 on Friday as trade friction between the United States and China continued to take its toll on riskier assets.

MSCI’s index for emerging market shares, down 6% in a renewed global sell-off this month due to the conflict, also fell, putting it on track for a third straight week of losses.

The week was marked with some prominent retaliation from both sides including Beijing imposing higher tariffs on most U.S. imports and U.S. President Donald Trump blocking China’s Huawei Technologies from buying vital American technology.

On Friday, the Communist Party’s People’s Daily used a front page commentary to evoke the patriotic spirit of past wars, saying the trade spat would never bring China down.

“While the markets are not pricing it, we think it is time to update our full-blown trade war scenario,” said analysts from DBS Group in a note.

“Such efforts will have dire consequences for the global economy, and usher in a destructive cold war.”

Most developing world currencies suffered due to the trade headlines with the Chinese yuan sliding through the psychologically significant 6.9/dollar level, although its losses were capped on signs the central bank will defend the currency.

Russia’s rouble and South Africa’s rand slid only marginally lower.

Asian indices led the fall across emerging market stocks with mainland Chinese shares down over 2%. Hong Kong stocks slid over a percent.

Indian shares were among the few bright spots climbing over 1% boosted by gains in auto stocks, while robust March-quarter results of financials also lifted investor sentiment.

Turkey’s BIST 100 index as well as the lira shed about 0.2%. Moody’s warned on Thursday that the recession-hit country needs to put a comprehensive and credible economic plan in place if it wants to avoid another cut to sovereign credit rating.

In emerging Europe, a rise in Polish net inflation to an over 6-year high weakened the zloty marginally against the euro.

Investors in the region will be looking forward to the European Parliament elections next week.

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 Hugh Lawson)

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