November 22, 2018 / 9:50 AM / 19 days ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Softer dollar, cheaper oil prop up emerging-market currencies

* Currencies of crude importers up as oil dips

* South Africa's rand steady before central bank meeting

* Stocks of Apple suppliers in Asia fall

By Susan Mathew

Nov 22 (Reuters) - A weaker dollar and lower oil prices limited losses in emerging- market currencies on Thursday, with South Africa's rand steady before a central bank policy meeting. Stocks were little changed as global growth worries persisted.

The currencies of crude importers led gains, with the Indian rupee and the Indonesian rupiah strengthening as oil prices dipped on a rise in U.S. crude stockpiles.

Losses for other currencies were limited by a cautious return of risk appetite that weakened the U.S. dollar in a market thinned out the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.

"We see quite a significant rally for currencies of India and Indonesia on account of falling oil prices and for the Indonesia rupiah the cancellation of their bond auctions for the rest of the year seems to have helped," said Hao Zhou, a senior EM Asia economist at Commerzbank

"The biggest issue right now is the different views surrounding the rate hike process in the U.S. We don't know which one will be right, but expect a big debate in the coming weeks and the topic to dominate the market until the December (central bank) meeting," he said.

The U.S. Federal Reserve has signalled it still expects to raise interest rates, but it has indicated it's concerned about a potential global slowdown. That and sharp declines by U.S. stocks have convinced investors its monetary tightening may soon peter out.

Among other major emerging-market currencies, the Chinese yuan edged lower and Turkey's lira, down around 30 percent this year, dipped half a percent. The Russian rouble climbed 0.2 percent.

The South African rand slipped against the dollar before a central bank meeting later in the day. Analysts were split over the chances it would raise rates or leave them unchanged as inflation pressures mount.

"There is also an unspoken suggestion that political will may influence a decision to keep rates low as we move into the election period," said Shaun Murison, a senior market analyst at IG Markets in Johannesburg.

The MSCI index of emerging markets stocks inched lower. Tech stocks weighed on indexes in Taiwan and South Korea following Apple's decline this week. Trade tensions kept mainland China stocks under pressure.

Stocks in Russia fell 0.3 percent. Turkey's BIST stock index declined 0.7 percent.

For GRAPHIC on emerging market FX performance 2018, see tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging index performance 2018, see tmsnrt.rs/2OusNdX

For TOP NEWS across emerging markets

For CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see

For TURKISH market report, see

For RUSSIAN market report, see (Reporting by Susan Mathew and Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru; editing by Larry King)

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