April 25, 2019 / 8:56 AM / a month ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Emerging market currencies dip, Turkish lira drops before rate decision

* Turkish lira softens ahead of central bank rate decision

* Shanghai Composite, South Korean stocks slip

* Higher oil prices fail to support Russian stocks, rouble

By Aaron Saldanha

April 25 (Reuters) - Emerging market currencies fell against the dollar on Thursday, with Turkey's lira in focus ahead of a central bank rate decision, while stocks dipped on disappointing South Korean data and warnings on Chinese economic growth.

Data showed the South Korean economy unexpectedly contracted in the first quarter, while Chinese officials warned of protracted pressure on growth, even as the outlook for a resolution to its trade war with the United States improves.

MSCI's emerging market stocks index was 0.9 percent lower on its worst day in a month.

The Shanghai Composite tumbled 2.4 percent to a more than three-week closing low, while South Korean stocks shed half a percent.

Turkey's lira hit a more than half-year low, before regaining some lost ground. The Turkish central bank is expected to leave borrowing costs at 24 percent, after saying it will keep monetary policy tight until inflation shows a convincing improvement.

Turkish stocks were trading down 0.3 percent on the day, while local banks slid 1.1 percent.

Russia's rouble fell 0.5 percent, against a backdrop of heightened geopolitical concerns. Moscow's decision this week to ease the process of residents of eastern Ukraine obtaining a Russian passport spurred calls from Kiev for more international sanctions.

Russian equities were down 0.3 percent, pulled lower mainly by financial shares with higher oil prices insufficient to support energy stocks.

South Africa's rand was 0.4 percent weaker, while stocks dropped 0.7 percent.

Currencies in emerging Europe were softer against the euro, although the Czech crown was only modestly weaker.

The Czech central bank vice-governor said he is ready to back a 25-basis-point hike in interest rates at a May 2 policy meeting if new economic forecasts support further tightening.

For TOP NEWS across emerging markets

For CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see

For TURKISH market report, see

For RUSSIAN market report, see (Reporting by Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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