August 8, 2017 / 9:46 AM / a year ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Shares shrug off China wobble, Rand readies for Zuma vote

* Rallying rand steadies ahead of Zuma no confidence vote

* Peso near 1-month low as NAFTA talks loom

* China shares, yuan shrug of trade data wobble

* MSCI EM index at near 3-year high

By Marc Jones

LONDON, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Emerging market shares shrugged off disappointing Chinese trade data on Tuesday that clouded an otherwise bright outlook for global growth, while South Africa’s rand steadied ahead of a no-confidence vote against President Jacob Zuma.

China's bourses initially stumbled after Beijing reported exports and imports both grew much less than expected, but recovered by the close as MSCI's fast-charging emerging market index headed for its third day of gains.

In Africa, Kenya was holding elections amid worries of violence and South African politicians were set to vote on the future of ANC leader Zuma.

The rand firmed 0.2 percent to 13.19 per dollar having surged as much as 1.7 percent on Monday when the vote - which will be held as a secret ballot - was announced.

Stocks in Johannesburg touched an all-time high in early trading as they climbed 0.2 percent and added to their 13 percent rise over the last two months.

The vote is scheduled for 1200 GMT and is likely to trigger market moves when results are announced by parliament.

"There’s a small chance the no-confidence vote could pass but my bet is that he will survive," said SEB emerging market analyst Per Hammarlund.

"It’s tough to see that 51 or so ANC MPs will vote with the opposition to put them over the threshold for the vote to pass."

Morgan Stanley said if Zuma did ride out the vote the rand would stay as one of this year's underperforming EM currencies. In contrast if he loses, the currency would rally on bets of political turnaround akin to Brazil last year, they said.

In Brazil, Michel Temer’s government faces its first test since corruption charges were shelved by the Congress there last week. The real was flat at 3.125 per dollar in Europe. Parliament is expected to vote on a modest pension overhaul as soon as October.

Mexico's peso was near a one-month low hit on Monday as the impending start of talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) gave the market a renewed bout of jitters.

The peso sank to a record low in January on fears that U.S. President Donald Trump would rip up NAFTA, but it has rallied hard since as his administration has taken a more conciliatory tone and moved to renegotiate the 23-year-old accord.

However, markets are again getting cautious as the three NAFTA members - the U.S., Mexico and Canada - head towards talks in Washington on Aug. 16 to revamp the deal, which underpins some $1 trillion in annual trilateral trade.

Despite China's trade data wobble, which still grew 8.8 percent overall, was the slowest rate this year, the yuan strengthened 0.3 percent to a 10-month high against the dollar.

Spot yuan topped 6.7 to the dollar for the first time since October and the gain was its biggest one-day rise since late June.

"The sharp rise in the yuan was a result of corporate dollar selling. Companies were getting more nervous after the recent rally in the yuan," said a trader at a foreign bank in Shanghai.

In emerging Europe, the high-flying zloty, forint, Czech crown and Romanian leu all remained firm as Hungarian inflation inched up to 2.1 percent from 1.9 percent in June and Czech employment came in in line with forecasts at 4.1 percent.

For GRAPHIC on emerging market FX performance 2017, see For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging index performance 2017, see

For CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see

For TURKISH market report, see

For RUSSIAN market report, see)

Additional reporting by Claire Milhench

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