* MSCI EM index up 0.6%
* China cuts interest rates for standing lending facility loans
* Turkish regulator drops FX trading ban on UBS, Citi, BNP
* South Africa ups weekly debt auctions by $109 million
* Saudi Arabia triples VAT rate; stocks hit six-week low
By Susan Mathew
May 11 (Reuters) - Hopes of a quicker economic recovery buoyed emerging-market stocks and currencies on Monday as more countries lifted lockdowns imposed on businesses to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Shares in Turkey, Russia and South Africa rose between 0.2% and 0.5%, following a positive session in Asia and Wall Street.
After last week’s 0.6% loss, MSCI’s index of emerging market shares was up 0.6%.
Even as the number of new COVID-19 cases rise at an alarming rate in some countries and others reports re-infection, economic indicators from around the globe show the impact of lockdowns, forcing countries to resume economic activity.
Japan plans to end a state of emergency for areas where infections have stabilised, while France is set to cautiously emerge from one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns on Monday. Some countries, such as India, Spain, Italy and parts of the United States, began easing lockdowns last week.
Data on Friday that showed unemployment in the United States was not as steep as feared in April also lifted sentiment.
“Investors took comfort from the fact that most of the unemployment was driven by a loss in temporary jobs, suggesting that these could rebound as the economy opened up gradually,” said analysts at Mizuho Bank in a note.
Mainland China shares ended flat.
China’s central bank on Sunday signalled more policy support for the economy and said it lowered interest rates on its standing lending facility in April. That helped soften a decline by the yuan.
South Africa’s rand extended gains for a third day, adding 0.6%, while Turkey’s lira was flat but off the historic lows reached last week.
The head of Turkey’s banking watchdog said on Sunday it may lift a transaction ban imposed on BNP Paribas, Citibank and UBS if they fulfil their lira liabilities, but an investigation into the three banks will continue.
South Africa will increase the amount of debt on sale at its weekly auctions by nearly 2 billion rand ($109 million) to cover a budget deficit set to increase sharply, the National Treasury said.
Seeking to shore up finances hit hard by low oil prices, Saudi Arabia said on Sunday it would triple its value- added tax rate and suspend a cost of living allowance for state employees. Tadawul’s main index touched six-week lows on Monday.
In central Europe, Budapest listed stocks rose 2%, outperforming regional peers, while the forint weakened against the euro.
Helped by policy tightening by the previously ultra-dovish Hungarian central bank, the forint has outperformed its peers and regained a significant share of its losses since April 1, when it hit a record low near 370 to the euro.
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For CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see
For TURKISH market report, see
For RUSSIAN market report, see (Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; editing by Larry King)