Slowdown worries, China's COVID measures hammer stocks
* Stocks set for worst week in a month
* FX to mark fifth week in red
* Chinese yuan at 1-1/2-year low, COVID curbs to be tightened
* CEE currencies rise as euro remains weak
By Susan Mathew
May 6 (Reuters) - Shares in emerging markets tumbled 2.5% on Friday, marking losses every day this week, as investors fretted over the implications of tighter global monetary policy and China's strict COVID-19 measures on growth momentum.
In a week packed with central bank meetings, MSCI's index of developing markets stocks .MSCIEF was set to decline 4% in its worst weekly performance in a month, as policymakers in several emerging markets as well as in the United States, England and Australia hiked interest rates to tame stubbornly high inflation.
Risk assets saw some relief after the Federal Reserve's meeting as markets scaled back bets of even more aggressive policy. But that appeared to be brief as investors digested the possible constriction on growth.
With China pledging to double down its zero-COVID policy, worries about demand saw commodities lose shine as well.
"It does not matter so much whether the Fed hikes its key rate in 50bp steps or 75bp steps," said Ulrich Leuchtmann, head of FX and commodity research at Commerzbank. "What matters is how far the rate cycle runs."
Weak stock market performances were across the board with heavyweight Chinese shares .SSEC .CSI300 .HSI falling between 2.2% and 3.9%.
Currencies of the developing also declined, with MSCI's index .MIEM00000CUS hitting November 2020 lows and set to mark its fifth straight week in the red.
The Chinese yuan CNY= weakened 0.4% to 1-1/2-year lows, while South Africa's rand ZAR= fell 0.8% after marking its worst session in over a year on Thursday when it sank 3.4%.
As the euro remained weak, central and eastern European currencies gained against it, with the Polish zloty EURPLN= and Czech crown EURCZK= rising a day after the respective central banks raised the key borrowing rate.
Chile was the latest, hiking its rate by 125 basis points overnight, while India, Brazil and gulf central banks also raised rates this week.
Investors are now looking ahead to April non-farm payrolls in the United States. Economists predict a solid 391,000 U.S. jobs were added last month, according to a Reuters poll.
The Russian rouble EURRUBTN=MCX strengthened to a more than two-year high against the euro and headed back towards 66 versus the dollar RUBUTSTN=MCX , supported by capital controls and weak forex demand, as the spectre of more sanctions against Moscow hung over markets. It fell in the offshore market RUB= , last at 63.3 against the dollar.
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Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips
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