EMERGING MARKETS-Emerging stocks power to 3-year highs, Mexican peso steadies

LONDON, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Emerging market equities hit three-year highs on Thursday and the Mexican peso steadied after U.S. President Donald Trump's threats to terminate the NAFTA trade treaty were dismissed.

MSCI's benchmark emerging stocks index gained 0.5 percent, reversing the risk aversion that had gripped markets on Wednesday after Trump warned he might pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement and revived threats to build a border wall with Mexico.

Both Mexico and Canada dismissed Trump's threat to scrap NAFTA as a negotiating tactic, helping the Mexican peso steady after initially falling over 1 percent against the dollar to one-week lows. Year-to-date, the peso has performed strongly, leading emerging forex gains.

Turkey and Taiwan shares led gains in stock markets, up 0.7-0.8 percent , with Poland and Hong Kong up 0.4-0.5 percent, the latter reopening after a one-day closure for a typhoon.

Per Hammarlund, chief emerging markets strategist at SEB, said the macroeconomic backdrop was still very favourable.

"You have days where you might have a bit of a pull-back but given that EM equities have lagged developed markets, they are starting to catch up now and I think that trend will hold for a while."

Investors are awaiting speeches from Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi at the Jackson Hole central banking conference this week for clues on the withdrawal of quantitative easing.

But Hammarlund noted that both the Fed and the ECB had played down expectations. "The most likely outcome is they don't signal too much ... but given the strong economic data we have seen there is still a risk of a more hawkish signal. That could cause some disruption for emerging markets," he said.

Chinese mainland shares suffered their biggest fall in nearly two weeks, down 0.5 percent, led by a 6.7 percent fall in telecom company China Unicom after it rallied hard earlier in the week.

Profits at China's state-owned firms rose 23.1 percent in January-July from a year earlier, and China said it would defend itself and its companies against a U.S. trade investigation.

The South African rand slipped 0.4 percent after consumer price inflation retreated to its lowest in nearly two years, boosting the chances of further interest rate cuts. A fall in precious metals prices also weighed on the rand.

The Czech crown firmed 0.1 percent against the euro after business and consumer confidence rose, whilst the Hungarian forint was trading at fresh 27-month highs.

In bond markets, Venezuela's benchmark 2038 sovereign dollar bond touched its lowest level since May 2016, extending Wednesday's losses after a report that the U.S. government was considering a ban on trading in the country's debt.

Polls have closed in Angola's parliamentary elections, which are expected to usher in the ruling party's defence minister as the first new leader for 38 years. Angolan dollar bonds were steady ahead of the results.

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 1080.84 +5.24 +0.49 +25.35 Czech Rep 1030.82 -0.51 -0.05 +11.85 Poland 2404.84 +13.78 +0.58 +23.46 Hungary 37813.20 +59.98 +0.16 +18.15 Romania 8337.15 -14.94 -0.18 +17.67 Greece 829.66 +0.50 +0.06 +28.90 Russia 1047.01 +2.05 +0.20 -9.14 South Africa 49727.26 -7.25 -0.01 +13.27 Turkey 09786.05 +833.31 +0.76 +40.50 China 3271.99 -15.71 -0.48 +5.42 India 31619.79 +51.78 +0.16 +18.75 Currencies Latest Prev Local Local close currency currency

% change % change

in 2017

Czech Rep 26.08 26.11 +0.11 +3.54

Poland 4.28 4.28 +0.11 +2.90

Hungary 302.45 302.46 +0.00 +2.11

Romania 4.58 4.58 +0.03 -1.05

Serbia 119.13 119.25 +0.10 +3.54

Russia 59.12 59.04 -0.13 +3.62

Kazakhstan 332.16 333.75 +0.48 +0.45

Ukraine 25.53 25.53 +0.00 +5.76

South Africa 13.20 13.15 -0.37 +4.01

Kenya 103.15 103.15 +0.00 -0.76

Israel 3.61 3.61 -0.15 +6.63

Turkey 3.48 3.48 +0.04 +1.44

China 6.66 6.66 -0.05 +4.25

India 64.08 64.04 -0.07 +6.03

Brazil 3.14 3.14 -0.00 +3.59

Mexico 17.69 17.69 -0.01 +17.12

Debt Index Strip Spd Chg %Rtn Index

Sov'gn Debt EMBIG 327 -1 .05 7 96.97 1

(Reporting by Claire Milhench; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)