EMERGING MARKETS-Stocks extend recovery, S. African rand slips as markets eye data

·3 min read

* S. Africa April CPI steady; retail sales due 1100 GMT

* China stocks fall on concerns government stimulus inadequate

* Turkish lira down for 10th straight session

* Sri Lanka to be placed into default by rating agencies

By Anisha Sircar and Bansari Mayur Kamdar

May 18 (Reuters) - Emerging market stocks firmed for the fourth straight day on Wednesday even as declines in China capped gains, while South Africa's rand slipped ahead of key economic data due later in the day.

The stocks gauge rose 0.5% to its highest level in nearly two weeks and looked set to recoup last week's losses as fears around China's COVID-19 lockdowns eased and strong U.S. retail sales data lifted sentiment.

Concerns around slowing growth and rising inflationary pressures amid monetary tightening cycles in developed markets have weighed heavily on assets in the region.

Meanwhile, South Africa's rand trimmed some losses to slip 0.3% after data showed consumer price inflation in Africa's most industrialised nation stood at 5.9% year on year in April, unchanged from March and just within the central bank's 3%-6% target range.

March retail sales numbers are expected at 1100 GMT, while a monetary policy decision by the central bank is due Thursday, where analysts expect the first 50 basis-point repo rate hike in more than six years.

Elsewhere, Turkey's lira fell for the 10th straight session, trading at 15.9 to the dollar and bringing its losses on the year to 17% as it heads for December lows. The lira was the worst performing currency last year with a 44% drop.

"The Turkish lira has gone through boom and bust cycles for so long ... my forecast of the lira for this quarter is 19 (to the dollar)," said Cristian Maggio, head of emerging markets strategy at TD Securities.

Among traditional high yielders in EMEA that investors consider as fungible currencies in an FX portfolio, namely the rand, the lira and the Russian rouble, only the rand is currently stable and tradeable for foreign investors, Maggio added.

EM currencies edged 0.1% higher against an easing dollar.

"Three concerns are driving emerging markets: The magnitude of U.S. rate hikes, the Chinese slowdown, and concerns around war, inflation and commodity prices ... It's a temporary rebound until the next fall," Maggio added.

China stocks ended up to 0.4% lower as investors worried that government policies are inadequate to reinvigorate the economy.

Elsewhere, Sri Lanka is expected to be placed into default by rating agencies after the non-payment of coupons on two sovereign bonds amid an economic crisis unprecedented in the country's history.

For GRAPHIC on emerging market FX performance in 2022, see http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging index performance in 2022, see https://tmsnrt.rs/2OusNdX

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For CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see

For TURKISH market report, see

For RUSSIAN market report, see

(Reporting by Anisha Sircar in Bengaluru; editing by David Evans)

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