Shares, currencies rise sharply on dovish Powell

* EM stocks index set for best day since March

* HK shares jump 3.3%

* Turkish lira rises; inflation forecast upped

By Susan Mathew

July 29 (Reuters) - Soothing words from Beijing to calm investor nerves over its regulation push, and an uneventful U.S. Federal Reserve meeting helped emerging market stocks to extend gains on Thursday, putting them on course for their best day in 4-1/2 months.

China blue-chips .CSI300 were almost 2% higher as tech stocks soared, with Alibaba 9988.HK up nearly 8%. Hong Kong's tech benchmark rose more than 3% - but all those gains only go some way to make up heavy losses sustained earlier in the week.

MSCI's index of emerging market stocks .MSCIEF rose 2%, but was set to log its worst month since March 2020, as was Hong Kong's main index .HSI .

China's yuan CNY= firmed to a near one-week high against the dollar, fully recovering losses suffered earlier this week, after a decline in the greenback triggered when Fed Chair Jerome Powell said "we're some ways away" from the substantial progress on jobs needed to start tapering.

"At this pace, it increasingly looks like the (Fed) wants to wait for ... the 'data fog' to clear up during the course of September before it commits itself to tapering," said Rabobank strategists in a note.

An index of EM currencies .MIEM00000CUS rose 0.5% and is on track for its best day since early January.

Turkey's lira TRY= firmed 0.8% against the dollar, set for its best session in a month, after the country's central bank governor said tight monetary policy will be maintained decisively as he forecast rising inflation for this year and the next.

The monetary authority faces pressure from President Tayyip Erdogan to cut rates by August. It held rates this month, and analysts expect any possible move to occur between September and December.

Erdogan's involvement in monetary policy by replacing central bank chiefs has weighed heavily on the lira this year, down 12.4% - the worst EM currency performance so far in 2021.

Rising oil prices lifted Russia's rouble RUB= to four-week highs, while South Africa's rand ZAR= gained 0.7%.

Russia's economy ministry said late on Wednesday that the economy had reached its pre-pandemic level.

Emerging market hard-currency bond spreads climbed back to 358, not far off the multi-month high of 359 hit last week.

For GRAPHIC on emerging market FX performance in 2021, see Link For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging index performance in 2021, see Link

For TOP NEWS across emerging markets

For CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see

For TURKISH market report, see

For RUSSIAN market report, see

Emerging markets stocks performance versus developed markets

Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; editing by Barbara

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