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EMERGING MARKETS-Emerging stocks sail higher on tepid dollar, upbeat data

LONDON, July 19 (Reuters) - A dollar on multi-month lows and upbeat economic data helped emerging stocks extend gains for an eighth straight session on Wednesday, but currencies took a breather from their recent rally.

MSCI's emerging stock index added 0.5 percent and hit a fresh 27-month high, having soared nearly 23 percent since the start of the year - the benchmark's best annual performance since 2009.

Bourses across Asia chalked up stellar gains. China mainland stocks jumped as much as 1.7 percent as investors piled into blue chips after robust economic growth data and on expectations that Beijing is stepping up efforts to reform lumbering and inefficient state companies.

South African stocks rallied more than 1 percent, their best daily gain in two weeks, while Turkey's index jumped 0.7 percent to touch a fresh record high.

Investors' appetite for riskier assets had been whet by the dollar veering lower and Treasury yields declining after the collapse of the U.S. Republicans' push to overhaul healthcare, which cast fresh doubt over President Donald Trump's ability to pass promised reforms.

Adding to the chipper mood were decreasing odds of the U.S. Federal Reserve hiking interest rates and data showing China's economy expanded at a faster-than-expected clip.

"Most emerging markets are doing quite well at the moment, especially in Asia, the figures for China are positive," said Marijke Zewuster, head of emerging markets research at ABN Amro.

"If you look at the underlying figures they are relatively strong at the moment - the global environment is still favourable for emerging markets."

Meanwhile currencies took a breather, with Turkey's lira and South Africa's rand easing 0.3 percent after 5 straight days of gains. Data out of South Africa showed that headline consumer inflation slowed more than expected to 5.1 percent in June.

"With South Africa, the problem is there is a lot of structural weakness, so rate cuts will not really help them," said ABN Amro's Zewuster, adding the latest reading was still not a low figure.

"The central bank needs to be extremely careful."

China's yuan also snapped an eight day winning streak despite the strongest official fixing in almost nine months as domestic businesses picked up dollars on the cheap.

Meanwhile across emerging Europe, the Czech crown climbed to its strongest level against the euro since the central bank freed it from a currency cap in April as investors were betting on the chances of a rate hike this quarter.

Currencies elsewhere in the region weakened against the euro, with Poland's zloty slipping 0.1 percent.

Poland's government on Wednesday moved one step closer to passing a contested law to reform the Supreme Court after the lower house voted to send the bill to a parliamentary committee.

For GRAPHIC on emerging market FX performance 2017, see http://tmsnrt.rs/2e7eoml For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging index performance 2017, see http://tmsnrt.rs/2dZbdP5

For CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see

For TURKISH market report, see

For RUSSIAN market report, see)

Emerging Markets Prices from Reuters

Equities Latest Net Chg % Chg % Chg

on year

Morgan Stanley

Emrg Mkt Indx 1058.67 +5.44 +0.52 +22.78 Czech Rep 1009.09 +1.05 +0.10 +9.49 Poland 2365.84 +5.09 +0.22 +21.45 Hungary 35946.28 +42.06 +0.12 +12.32 Romania 8252.32 +39.57 +0.48 +16.48 Greece 849.22 +1.15 +0.14 +31.94 Russia 1030.55 -7.90 -0.76 -10.57 South Africa 47478.20 +550.36 +1.17 +8.15 Turkey 06556.09 +837.77 +0.79 +36.37 China 3232.87 +45.30 +1.42 +4.16 India 31874.16 +163.17 +0.51 +19.71 Currencies Latest Prev Local Local close currency currency

% change % change

in 2017

Czech Rep 26.02 26.11 +0.35 +3.81

Poland 4.20 4.20 -0.08 +4.77

Hungary 306.08 305.61 -0.15 +0.90

Romania 4.56 4.56 +0.00 -0.53

Serbia 120.50 120.51 +0.01 +2.37

Russia 59.19 59.16 -0.06 +3.50

Kazakhstan 326.41 325.81 -0.18 +2.22

Ukraine 25.94 25.91 -0.13 +4.08

South Africa 12.94 12.89 -0.38 +6.10

Kenya 103.85 103.85 -0.00 -1.43

Israel 3.58 3.57 -0.28 +7.69

Turkey 3.53 3.52 -0.29 -0.16

China 6.75 6.75 -0.14 +2.79

India 64.33 64.27 -0.10 +5.62

Brazil 3.15 3.15 +0.00 +3.14

Mexico 17.51 17.48 -0.19 +18.30

Debt Index Strip Spd Chg %Rtn Index

Sov'gn Debt EMBIG 325 -1 .06 7 89.27 1

All data taken from Reuters at 08:50 GMT. Currency percent change calculated from the daily U.S. close at 2130 GMT. (Reporting by Karin Strohecker, additional reporting by Claire Milhench)