* China industrial output growth hits a 17-year low
* Property investment in China rises in Jan-Feb period
* Russian FX conversion rules could change - Finance Minister
By Aaron Saldanha
March 14 (Reuters) - Emerging market stocks and currencies slipped on Thursday as concern over slowing growth reared its head again after data showed Chinese industrial output growth hit a 17-year low in the first two months of 2019.
The industrial data, combined with a higher unemployment rate, points to further weakness in the world’s second-biggest economy but a 11.6 percent rise in property investment during the same period prevented sentiment from worsening further.
“Mixed readings for January-February activity data failed to dispel the China deceleration narrative,” wrote strategists at the UBS Chief Investment Office in a note, adding the Chinese economy will continue to slow through 2019.
MSCI’s index of developing world stocks slipped 0.1 percent, matching the decline seen by its index of emerging market currencies, which dipped against a firmer dollar.
Shares on the Shanghai Composite Index slid 1.2 percent in their worst showing in nearly a week, while the blue-chips on the Chinese mainland fell 0.7 percent. The yuan came off a one-week high against the dollar.
“The jump in the unemployment rate may be distorted by Chinese New Year but it probably also reflects that employment is under pressure from the slowdown,” Allan von Mehren, chief analyst and China economist at Danske Bank, wrote in a note.
Turkey’s lira softened 0.3 percent, as fresh data showed industrial production in January dropped 7.3 percent, indicating the country’s rebalancing is still underway.
The Turkish economy was battered in 2018 by a lira which slid on diplomatic dispute with Washington, concerns about central bank independence and higher oil prices, prompting borrowing costs to be raised a bumper 625 basis-points in September.
Russia’s rouble gained 0.1 percent, supported by a 0.7 percent rise in the price of oil, a key export.
Russia’s finance minister said his ministry and the central bank are prepared to drop regulations in 2020 which require Russian exporters to convert their foreign exchange revenue into roubles.
Moscow-traded stocks marked time as gains among resources stocks were largely outweighed by weakness among consumer staples and financials.
South Africa’s rand was 0.2 percent weaker, while local stocks edged up 0.1 percent ahead of mining and manufacturing data releases later in the day which could hint at the pace of recovery in Africa’s most industrialised economy.
In emerging Europe, Romania’s leu firmed 0.2 percent as it came off its weakest level since late January.
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For RUSSIAN market report, see (Reporting by Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)