EMERGING MARKETS-EM FX hovers near 3-week lows on firmer dollar; Turkish lira slips

* Lira eases as Turkey removes deputy cenbank governor

* South African rand eases, Russian rouble climbs

* China stocks lead EM equities higher

* FTSE Russell confirms China sovereign bonds to join WGBI

March 30 (Reuters) – Emerging market currencies hovered near three-week lows on Tuesday as inflation concerns pushed up U.S. bond yields and the dollar, while the Turkish lira eased after the deputy central bank governor was replaced amid a broader central bank overhaul.

The lira was down about 0.7% at 8.28 versus the dollar, sliding for a fourth straight session and inching closer to a record low of 8.58 hit in November.

The currency crashed about 10% last week as the appointment of Sahap Kavcioglu, a critic of high interest rates, as central bank governor sparked fears that he would reverse a series of recent rate hikes to tackle high inflation.

Kavcioglu on Monday played down expectations of an interest rate cut in April or the following months, but his comments “were unable to truly support the lira as it was not exactly an outspoken ‘no’ to rate cuts,” said You-Na Park-Heger, a FX analyst at Commerzbank.

The market turmoil, which Deutsche Bank estimates led to foreign outflows of up to $1.75 billion in Turkish equities and bonds, also raised concerns of capital controls, although the chief economic adviser to President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday the country was not considering such moves.

The MSCI index of emerging market currencies edged lower to approach levels last seen in early March as the dollar firmed on the back of a rise in U.S. bond yields.

After rallying through much of 2020, helped by historic global stimulus, the index has fallen about 1% so far this year as faster U.S. economic growth and a slower-than-expected vaccination roll-out in Europe increased the appeal of U.S. assets.

The South African rand, one of the high-yielding emerging market currencies that have come under pressure from a firmer dollar, eased about 0.1% by 0700 GMT, while the Russian rouble rose 0.1% after weakening earlier this month on fears of U.S. sanctions against Moscow.

A basket of developing world stocks rose 0.5%, led by a more than 1% jump in Chinese stocks due to upbeat corporate earnings. Still, the MSCI index was set for its first monthly decline in six after a sell-off in the bond market hit global equities.

Meanwhile, index provider FTSE Russell confirmed on Monday that Chinese sovereign bonds will be included in its flagship bond index, starting later this year, a move that HSBC estimates could lead to inflows of $150 billion over a 12-month inclusion period.

For GRAPHIC on emerging market FX performance in 2021, see tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging index performance in 2021, see tmsnrt.rs/2OusNdX

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