Stocks hold ground, Turkish lira inches towards record lows

* Turkish lira down 20% for the year

* China shares boost EM stocks index

* Polish to keep up pace of policy tightening

By Shreyashi Sanyal

June 6 (Reuters) - A gauge for emerging market stocks started the week on a firm footing on Monday, lifted by gains in China shares, while Turkey's lira weakened against the dollar on worries of galloping inflation.

The lira TRY= TRYTOM=D3 weakened as far as 16.57 to the greenback, bringing it close to record lows hit in December, 2021 in a currency crisis triggered by a series of unorthodox interest rate cuts.

The currency is headed for yearly declines of 20%, after becoming the worst performing currency of 2021. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that inflation figures from the month of May, when annual consumer prices jumped to a 24-year high, showed inflation was now on a downward trend.

Turkish Finance Minister Nureddin Nebati was cited by Milliyet newspaper telling deputies from Erdogan's ruling AK Party at a weekend meeting that a near-term rate hike or cut was not being considered.

Other emerging market currencies were seen firming. South Africa's rand ZAR= rose 0.6% and the Russian rouble RUBUTSTN=MCX opened 0.4% firmer against the dollar.

The MSCI's gauge for emerging market stocks .MSCIEF rose 0.6%, with stocks in China .SSEC .CSI300 boosting gains.

Beijing and Shanghai have been returning to normal life following the biggest COVID-19 outbreak in two years, while measures to revive economic growth have also helped to lift risk sentiment.

Investors prepared for a busy week, packed with central bank policy meetings as inflation takes centre stage amid a major European Central Bank meeting and U.S. consumer price data.

Strategists at ING say a rate hike from the ECB is highly unlikely, but "the question of why the ECB is willing to wait another month despite rapidly rising inflation will likely be raised".

A Reuters poll showed Poland's central bank is expected to raise its main interest rate by 75 basis points to 6.00% on Wednesday, against the backdrop of surging inflation and risks of slowing growth due to the Ukraine war. The zloty EURPLN= dipped against the euro on Monday.

The Czech National Bank looks likely to raise interest rates again at its June 22 meeting as developments in the economy are still inflationary, Governor Jiri Rusnok said. The koruna EURCZK= fell against the euro.

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 Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond

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