EMERGING MARKETS-Turkish lira slips as inflation jumps above interest rate

* Turkish inflation at 19.25%, more than estimates of 18.7%

* Turkey cenbank will likely hold rate this month – analyst

* Chinese, Russian service PMIs fall, India’s rises

* EM shares inch toward 6-week highs; eyes on US payrolls data

Sept 3 (Reuters) – Turkey’s lira fell up to 0.8% on Friday after inflation jumped more than expected and above the country’s key interest rate, leaving the central bank in a tricky situation amid President Tayyip Erdogan’s calls for a rate cut.

Turkish inflation hit a fresh two-year high of 19.25% year-on-year in August, data showed, exceeding a poll forecast of 18.7% and pushing above the central bank’s policy rate of 19%.

The lira retreated from near four-month highs, last trading at 8.33 to the dollar. The currency is down nearly 11% this year.

Danske Bank’s head of EM research Jakob Christensen notes it is not all bad for the central bank, given core inflation fell slightly. The central bank will likely keep the benchmark rate unchanged at its meeting on Sept. 23 unless a substantial lira weakening forces it to hike rates, he said.

A hike in rates runs the risk of political backlash, which could prove even more detrimental to market sentiment, said Monex Europe’s FX analyst Simon Harvey.

Other emerging market currencies awaited U.S. non-farm payroll data due later in the day to speculate about the probable timing for stimulus tapering by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

South Africa’s rand and Brazil’s real are seen driving volatility as EM currencies are likely to be sold-off in the next three months amid tapering fears, a Reuters poll showed.

South Africa’s rand rose 0.3%, while gains Russia’s rouble were capped by the country’s service sector contracting for the first time this year in August.

The Chinese yuan gave up gains that sent it to one-month highs after a disappointing services activity survey, while India’s rupee moved further away from near three-month highs as rising COVID-19 cases clouded a return to growth in its dominant services sector in August.

Another Reuters poll showed Poland’s zloty set to bridge the lag with central European peers as chances grow that Poland’s central bank will catch-up with peers in lifting interest rates.

EM shares inched higher towards six-week highs as gains in most parts of Asia offset declines in China and elsewhere. Main indexes in Turkey, Russia and Poland fell between 0.2% and 0.4%.

Shares in emerging markets fund manager Ashmore Group slumped 5% despite reporting a 28% jump in full year profit before tax.

The company’s core earnings and net revenues fell. Mark Crouch, an analyst at multi-asset investment platform eToro, added the ongoing poor performance of EMs in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic cannot be discounted.

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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