COVID concerns weigh on China stocks; CEE currencies rise



* China stocks fall as Beijing COVID concerns weigh

* Zloty up as Polish retail sales rise 33.4% y/y in April

* Lira slips as Turkish May manufacturing confidence falls

* Rouble firms 3%, heads back towards multi-year highs vs dollar

By Bansari Mayur Kamdar

May 23 (Reuters) - Emerging market stocks ticked lower on Monday after Chinese shares fell as the country's ongoing COVID-19 situation outweighed the boost from U.S. President Joe Biden indicating there may be a tariff cut on Chinese goods.

Emerging market stocks .MSCIEF fell 0.2%. Stocks in China .CSI300 and Hong Kong .HSI fell 0.6% and 1.2%, respectively, as Beijing reported the highest number of COVID-19 cases seen during the current outbreak, while profit-taking after two consecutive weeks of gains also weighed on the indexes.

Currencies .MIEM00000CUS in the region inched 0.1% up. U.S. President Joe Biden said he was weighing cutting tariffs on Chinese goods, which helped lift the Chinese yuan CNY=CFXS to its highest since May 5.

Central European currencies firmed, lifted by a weaker dollar and a positive mood in global markets.

Retail sales in Poland rose 33.4% year-over-year in April, compared with the estimated 30.6%, boosting the Polish zloty EURPLN= 0.5% up against the euro.

"We are seeing further tentative signs of improvement in market sentiment," said Piotr Matys, senior FX analyst at In Touch Capital Markets.

"Another set of very strong Polish data, which is an indication that households continue to spend money despite high inflation as disposable income of Polish households is being protected by still high wages."

The Hungarian forint EURHUF= rose 0.5%, tracking broader gains, even as data showed consumer and business confidence worsened in May as households turned gloomier amid a surge in inflation.

The Czech crown EURCZK= gained 0.4% after Governor Jiri Rusnok said on Sunday the central bank will likely raise interest rate further in June if economic data are in line with the bank's latest forecast.

The Russian rouble RUBUTSTN=MCX rose 3% against the dollar, supported by capital controls and an upcoming month-end tax period. The Russian central bank also denied a media report it has started purchasing foreign currency in order to stop an uncontrolled strengthening of the rouble.

Turkey's lira TRY= inched 0.2% lower in choppy trading after central bank data showed business confidence among Turkish manufacturers fell to 109.4 points in May compared with 109.7 points in April.

The South African rand ZAR= ticked 0.2% higher after the S&P revised the country's outlook to "positive" on Friday.

For GRAPHIC on emerging market FX performance in 2022, see Link For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging index performance in 2022, see Link

For TOP NEWS across emerging markets

For CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see

For TURKISH market report, see

For RUSSIAN market report, see
Reporting by Bansari Mayur Kamdar; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri

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