China rate cut boosts EM stocks; currencies recover as greenback eases

* China stocks firm on higher-than-expected borrowing rate cut

* Turkish consumer conf in May edges up from record low

* EM stocks, FX eye weekly gains of 3% and 1% respectively

By Anisha Sircar and Bansari Mayur Kamdar

May 20 (Reuters) - China stocks led emerging market stocks higher on Friday after Beijing's larger-than-expected cut to a key borrowing rate, while a softer dollar sent an index of currencies to their highest level in two weeks.

China's main share indexes .CSI300 .SSEC added 1.6% and 2% after Beijing lowered the five-year loan prime rate CNYLPR5Y=CFXS by 15 basis points (bps) to 4.45% to aid the ailing economy, more than the five or 10 bps tipped by analysts in a Reuters poll.

That boosted MSCI's index of stocks .MSCIEF up 2% and more than 3% on the week to track its best weekly performance since mid-March. Most other EM Asian indexes gained between 1% and 2.2% while those in Turkey .XU100 and South Africa .JTOPI gained 0.4% and 0.5%.

Still, stocks have clocked losses every month in 2022 and were eyeing their fifth in May as investors remain fearful over the impact of surging inflation, China's COVID-19 lockdowns and monetary tightening in developed economies.

"I'm not looking at a strong recovery from here - some stability in (China's) renminbi has provided some temporary support this week, but the fact is we've got the strong dollar and concerns over European and Chinese growth very much still with us," said Chris Turner, global head of FX Strategy at ING.

Meanwhile, EM currencies .MIEM00000CUS looked set for their first weekly gain in seven, lifted by a glum week for the dollar =USD which lost steam after a breathless 14-week surge and amid a retreat in U.S. Treasury yields.

Mexico's peso MXN= and South Africa's rand ZAR= were 0.9% and 2% stronger on the week, with the rand helped by a 50 basis point lending rate hike by the central bank on Thursday.

Turkey's lira TRY= was the outlier, slipping 0.3% and down 11 sessions out of the last 12, with some upbeat data doing little to boost the struggling currency. Turkish consumer confidence was seen rising to 67.6 points in May from a record low in April.

"The strategy in costing an arm to Turkey, which is why soft data like the consumer data isn't fit to reverse the ugly mood or fears of seeing the lira crumble if the Turkish central bank were to let go," said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote Bank.

Elsewhere, Russia's rouble RUBUTSTN=MCX saw its fifth straight week in the black, boosted by capital controls and domestic tax payments that support demand for the currency, despite growing global sanctions after its invasion of Ukraine.

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 Anisha Sircar in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill

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