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Emerging-market assets fall after ECB fails to act

Investors stay away from riskier assets after ECB chief Mario Draghi lowered expectations of aggressive monetary-policy easing

Turkey's lira is 0.3 per cent higher, continuing a rally after the Turkish central bank cut rates more than expected on Thursday to spur a recession-hit economy.

EMERGING-MARKET assets fell on Friday, on track to end the week lower, as investors shied away from riskier assets after the head of the European Central Bank disappointed them by toning down expectations of aggressive monetary-policy easing.

MSCI's index for emerging-market shares fell 0.4 per cent with stocks in Hong Kong losing the most. Mainland China managed to end higher but made tepid gains.

The ECB held interest rates steady on Thursday but signalled rate cuts ahead, initially supporting risk sentiment. But President Mario Draghi sounded more upbeat on the global economy than investors had expected and said policymakers had not discussed rate cuts.

"The ECB wants to see the incoming data in the coming weeks and the September staff projections before it makes a decision," Bas van Geffen, an ECB quantitative analyst at Rabobank, said in a note. "However, we still believe the September rate cut is all but a done deal." Focus now shifts to next week's meeting of the US Federal Reserve on July 30-31, which is expected to cut interest rates by at least a quarter of a point.

Emerging-market currencies, which typically gain when developed-world central banks cut rates, fell, with South Africa's rand down 0.6 per cent.

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Turkey's lira was 0.3 per cent higher, continuing a rally after the Turkish central bank cut rates more than expected on Thursday to spur a recession-hit economy.

A collapse in the Turkish lira last year had pushed inflation to a 15-year high above 25 per cent , which dropped last month to its lowest level in a year at 15.7 per cent , sealing expectations for the cut.

"We think the new level of the policy rate is consistent with an end-2019 inflation but further easing will depend on the global risk sentiment and the likelihood for the attainability of high single-digit inflation by end-2020," Credit Suisse analysts said in a note.

Following suit from other emerging-market central banks, the Bank of Russia is expected to cut its key interest rate later in the day, after its policymakers indicated that rate cuts were looming amid slowing inflation and sluggish economic growth.

A Reuters poll of 23 analysts and economists on July 22 unanimously predicted that the central bank would lower the key rate to 7.25 per cent .

The rouble climbed 0.2 per cent , while stocks in Moscow moved 0.5 per cent higher before the decision, due at 1030 GMT. REUTERS

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