* China May industrial output growth slowed to 17-year-plus low
* Russian central bank rate decision due later in the day
* Reuters poll predicts Russian borrowing costs to be cut to 7.50%
By Aaron Saldanha
June 14 (Reuters) - Emerging market stocks fell on Friday, with risk sentiment kept in check by weak Chinese industrial output data, which investors scanned for clues on the toll exacted by the country’s bruising trade war with the United States.
China’s industrial output growth slowed to a more than 17-year low of 5% in May, well below expectations, in the latest sign of weakening demand in the economy.
“There’s always an immediate impact of whether the Chinese data is going to surprise to the downside or the upside, at the moment we’re seeing data tainted by trade wars,” said Monex Europe FX Analyst Simon Harvey, adding authorities have been willing to provide stimulus in the event of a growth slowdown.
MSCI’s developing world stocks index dropped 0.4%, hurt by stocks in China falling 1%, while Chinese blue-chips declined 0.8%.
MSCI’s emerging market currencies index dipped. China’s onshore spot yuan eased and remained on course to post a sixth weekly loss in seven weeks.
Monex Europe’s Harvey said he believed the weakened yuan could aid a pick up in growth over the “next couple of months”, against the backdrop of an easing in financial conditions he expects to see in the world’s second largest economy.
Hong Kong’s dollar firmed marginally while stocks slipped 0.7%. The week has seen equities swept up by uncertainty as residents protested against an extradition bill.
Russia’s rouble firmed 0.2%, ahead of a central bank rate decision. The bank is expected to cut borrowing costs, opening the door for a further easing cycle later this year amid slowing economic growth and inflation.
A vast majority of analysts and economists polled by Reuters predict the central bank will cut the key rate to 7.50% later in the day.
“Today’s policy announcement is pretty much priced in,” given governor Elvira Nabiullina’s comments last week, said Monex Europe’s Harvey.
“People are looking at when the next rate cut’s going to be, there’s a debate at the moment whether it’s going to be 50 basis points or 75 basis points over the course of 2019, it’s not about the rate cut itself, it’s about the forward guidance.”
Moscow-traded stocks rose 0.5%, set for a record closing high.
Turkey’s lira was 0.8% softer, while stocks fell 0.4%. Prices of the country’s dollar-denominated bonds broadly dropped on growing tensions with the United States.
Turkey’s foreign minister said it will “take reciprocal steps” if the United States imposes sanctions over its purchase of Russian S-400 defences.
South Africa’s rand strengthened 0.2% while equities rose 0.1%.
In emerging Europe, yields on Polish 10-year local bonds hit their lowest levels in more than four years at about 2.39%.
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Reporting by Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirsten Donovan