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EMERGING MARKETS-Lira hits new lows, rouble tumbles as Caucasus clashes intensify

* Turkish lira slides for third straight day

* Rouble at four-and-a-half year lows versus euro

* Azerbaijan, Armenia sovereign dollar bonds slide

* Emerging market stocks track first monthly decline in five

Sept 29 (Reuters) - The Turkish lira plumbed new lows on Tuesday and the Russian rouble fell to a four-and-a-half year low against the euro as heavy fighting between Azeri and Armenian forces amplified geopolitical concerns in the region.

The lira tumbled to 7.85 against the dollar, slumping for a third straight session and erasing gains from late last week following a surprise interest rate hike by the central bank. Azerbaijan and Armenia sovereign dollar-denominated bonds slid for a second day in a row.

The lira, which has lost half its value since a full-blown currency crisis in 2018, has been hammered this year by worries around Turkey’s depleted forex reserves and negative real interest rates, which, analysts said, the central bank’s move last week would do little to abate.

“A deteriorating trend in FX reserves has been intact since years and was also a trigger for the start of the lira crisis in 2018,” analysts at Commerzbank said.

“Last week’s rate hike could have made a difference, but only if it could be reliably interpreted to be permanent and repeatable – but, it cannot.”

Russia’s rouble tumbled 1% to a six-month low versus the dollar.

Against the euro, the oil-linked currency sank to a four-and-a-half-year low of 93.3 with investors fearing the impact of renewed conflict between neighbours Armenia and Azerbaijan over the ethnic Armenian mountain enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.

In an attempt to alleviate pressure on the rouble, the central bank said on Tuesday it would sell an additional 2.9 billion roubles a day starting from Oct. 1. It has been carrying out foreign currency interventions since March.

The South African rand slipped for the third time in five sessions. Data showed foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows in Africa’s most industrialised economy fell in the second quarter, with portfolio investments including bonds and shares registering outflows 54.8 billion rand ($3.19 billion).

A basket of emerging market stocks was on course to log its first monthly decline since the coronavirus-driven crash in March with worries about surging coronavirus infections and choppy economic growth keeping risk appetite subdued.

On Tuesday, the index was nearly flat ahead of the next round of Brexit negotiations and the first U.S. presidential debate later in the day.

Bourses in Russia and South Africa shed about half a percent each, while Turkey’s stock index added 0.3%.

For GRAPHIC on emerging market FX performance in 2020, see tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging index performance in 2020, see tmsnrt.rs/2OusNdX

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For CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see

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For RUSSIAN market report, see ($1 = 17.1600 rand) (Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Alexander Marrow; editing by Philippa Fletcher)

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