EMERGING MARKETS-S.African rand, Brazil's real firm after cenbank moves

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* S.African cenbank holds rates, raises GDP forecast * Brazil cenbank hikes by 100 bps * Brazil cenbank tone less hawkish than expected -analyst * Rising inflation in Mexico spurs rate hike bets * Turkish lira drops after 100 bps rate cut By Susan Mathew Sept 23 (Reuters) - Central bank moves headlined emerging market currency action on Thursday, with South Africa's rand taking in stride a decision to hold rates, while Brazil's real firmed after an expected 100 basis points hike overnight. Turkey's lira stayed well in the red after a surprise rate cut despite surging inflation. The South African Reserve Bank left the key interest rate unchanged at a record low of 3.5% as expected, but raised its economic growth forecast for 2021 to 5.3% from 4.2% and said the risks to the short-term inflation outlook were assessed to the upside. The rand hit 14.6881 against the dollar just after the decision, but was soon back at 14.61, up 1.2%. It was at 14.63 prior to the decision. Meanwhile, in an aggressive battle against inflation, Brazil's central bank raised the benchmark Selic rate by 100 basis points overnight to 6.25% and flagged another one of the same measure next month. But it failed to boost the real significantly as it was seen as less hawkish than expected. "We think that the bull case for BRL has been undermined by the weaker China growth outlook, which already has led to a severe deterioration of the terms of trade for Brazil, which may continue," said strategists at Citi. "On top of this, the central bank is turning more dovish on the margin. An aggressive central bank was one of the core reasons to stick to the BRL long." But the currency, along with Mexico's peso outperformed muted moves by most other Latam peers as sliding commodity prices limited the upside from a weakening dollar. Mexico's peso firmed 0.4% after data showing a bigger than expected rise in annual inflation in the first half of September spurred rate hike bets. By mid-month, consumer prices accelerated 0.42% to reach annual inflation of 5.87%, already edging above the 5.59% clocked for August. Meanwhile, Argentina made a near $1.9 billion payment to the International Monetary Fund on Wednesday as it attempts to revamp the over $40 billion it still owes. The payment was made with funds Argentina received from the IMF's Special Drawing Rights program. Latam stocks joined a broader rally in EM well as global equity markets as reassurances from indebted Chinese developer Evergrande about its repayments assuaged some fears of contagion in a likely default event. Key Latin American stock indexes and currencies at 1408 GMT: Stock Latest Daily % change indexes MSCI Emerging Markets 1272.25 0.75 MSCI LatAm 2328.42 -0.25 Brazil Bovespa 113451.82 1.04 Mexico IPC 51357.07 0.04 Chile IPSA 4395.85 0.27 Argentina MerVal - - Colombia COLCAP 1315.76 0.42 Currencies Latest Daily % change Brazil real 5.2778 0.47 Mexico peso 20.0070 0.38 Chile peso 788.1 -0.19 Colombia peso 3828.53 0.05 Peru sol 4.1111 -0.28 Argentina peso (interbank) 98.5100 -0.02 (Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrea Ricci) 

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