Currencies find breathing space as dollar eases slightly



By Susan Mathew

Aug 8 (Reuters) - Emerging market currencies came off session lows on Monday, as the dollar eased slightly after a strong rally spurred by rising bets of the U.S. Federal Reserve staying aggressive with its monetary policy.

With the exception of the Indian rupee INR= and the Taiwan dollar TWD= , most Asian currencies cut almost all session losses. The Chinese yuan inched up CNY= , with data showing an unexpected pick-up in exports in July aiding sentiment. Export forecasts from China, however, were clouded by worries about weakening global demand.

Elsewhere, Turkey's beleaguered lira TRY= fell 0.2%, while South Africa's rand ZAR= climbed 0.5%. Russia's rouble RUB= rose to trade around 60 per dollar.

The greenback =USD fell about 0.2%, but stayed at elevated levels after data on Friday showing strong labour demand in the United States saw bets for another 75 basis points hike by the Fed in September rise to around 70%. Focus now turns to U.S. inflation data due later this week. The headline number is seen having cooled in July.

"There's still this very precarious risk backdrop," said Simon Harvey, head of FX analysis at Monex.

"We are still seeing volatility in emerging market space this morning, but it's not necessarily too indicative of an overall trend just yet," he said, adding that Monex expects a Fed "pivot," or the easing of its tightening cycle, in the fourth quarter which could then lend some support to emerging markets.

Despite a stronger euro, Hungary's forint EURHUF= rose 0.4% to stay at two-month highs, while the Polish zloty EURPLN= climbed 0.3%. Both had a strong week last week, but analysts at ING see some pain ahead.

"We expect both currencies to be weaker this week. We see the forint as more vulnerable, with our target at 399 EUR/HUF and the zloty at 4.75 EUR/PLN for the days ahead," said Frantisek Taborsky, EMEA FX & FI strategist at ING.

Inflation figures from Hungary, the Czech Republic and Romania will also be eyed this week.

Among stocks, MSCI's index of emerging market equities .MSCIEF snapped a three-day winning run thanks to losses in Chinese blue-chips .CSI300 and Hong Kong stocks .HSI . But strong gains in India, as well as outside Asia, helped cap losses for the broader index.

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Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V

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