EMERGING MARKETS-Stocks snap losing streak but economic worries remain

* Russia stocks retreat from record highs

* Mainland China stocks rise more than 1%

* Baidu launches U.S. dollar bond

* S.Africa inflation slows in July

Aug 18 (Reuters) – Emerging market stocks snapped a five-session losing streak to climb 0.4% on Wednesday, thanks to gains in Asia, but worries about slowing economic growth remained.

Stocks in Russia retreated 0.6% from record highs, while those in Poland and Saudi Arabia lost 0.7% and 0.1% respectively. Stocks in Romania and Turkey eked out small gains.

MSCI’s China-heavy index of EM shares rose as mainland China shares rose more than 1% to lead gains in Asia .

The EM index had lost 3.5% over the previous five sessions as concerns about Beijing’s crackdown on businesses, and worries about global growth because of to the Delta variant of the novel coronavirus, knocked sentiment.

“The global economy continues to face a softening of demand coupled with inflationary pressure,” Citi Research strategists said.

Analysts at Singapore’s DBS Group warn that China’s stock market consolidation amid ongoing regulator crackdown will weigh on spending power through the negative wealth effect.

Chinese internet company Baidu Inc tapped into debt markets with a two-tranche, U.S. dollar sustainability bond, in a deal that could test global investor appetite for China tech assets amid the regulatory scrutiny.

Despite the dollar broadly clinging to Tuesday’s gains, EM currencies enjoyed a moment of reprieve from their declines this week, with Russia’s rouble and Mexico’s peso gaining around 0.3% each, following gains for most Asian currencies.

South Africa’s rand gave up session gains after tame inflation figures for July further reduced the chances of a hawkish move by the central bank. Retail sales data for June, due later on Wednesday, is also expected to have slowed from the previous month.

Turkey’s lira fell 0.8% after four straight sessions of gains.

In Afghanistan, the central bank’s around $10 billion in assets may be out of reach from the Taliban as the vast majority of the assets are held outside the country.

Afghanistan is eligible for an allocation of about $455 million of the International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Rights. A source familiar with the matter said that IMF actions in such cases are guided by the views of its members. 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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