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EMERGING MARKETS-Stocks, FX mostly rise; rouble down after Mueller report

Susan Mathew

May 30 (Reuters) - Emerging-market shares rose on Thursday after two days of declines, recovering from last session's decline to near their five-month lows, but a drop in Chinese stocks on fears of a prolonged trade war capped the gains.

MSCI's index of emerging-market shares gained 0.8% and looked set to post its biggest intraday gain in nearly two months, with most Asian shares rising.

Most developing-world currencies also gained, with the Turkish lira touching its highest in more than two weeks.

"What we are seeing today is a temporary rebound," said Koon Chow, an emerging-market macro and FX strategist with UBP London.

Mainland China and Hong Kong shares fell 0.3% to 0.6% after Beijing stepped up its rhetoric against Washington.

"This kind of deliberately provoking trade disputes is naked economic terrorism, economic chauvinism, economic bullying," Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Hanhui said on Thursday regarding the U.S stance on trade with China.

On Wednesday, investors fled to safer assets after reports that China could use its export of rare earths to the United States as leverage after U.S. President Donald Trump said he was not ready to cut a trade deal with China.

"Ultimately, our base case scenario is that the rhetoric will be dialed back, but it may take a couple on months .... It's not going to be at the G20 (meeting on June 28-29)," UBP's Chow said.

"One thing that could trigger a deal is further downside in U.S. equities, because that would be something the U.S. administration would take note of. Thus far, the declines have been moderate."

In Turkey, the lira rose 0.8% and Istanbul-listed shares jumped 2% to a three-week high on hopes that Turkey's release of a jailed Turkish-American, former NASA scientist Serkan Golge, would ease tensions between Ankara and Washington.

Deteriorating diplomatic relations with the United States was one reason for the lira's crisis last year, when it lost nearly 30% of its value against the dollar.

Those fragile ties had been under pressure again this year, with Washington threatening Ankara with sanctions over Turkey's planned purchase of a Russian air defense missile system.

South Africa's rand rose 0.16% as markets digested President Cyril Ramaphosa's new, leaner cabinet. Tito Mboweni remains finance minister and David Mabuza deputy president.

"There were far more positive points than negative, and given the tightrope Mr Ramaphosa had to walk, we got the best he could give under prevailing conditions," analysts at NKC African Economics said in a note.

The Russian rouble erased early gains to continue Wednesday's decline. It dropped after U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller said his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections did not clear Trump.

For GRAPHIC on emerging market FX performance 2019, see For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging index performance 2019, see

For TOP NEWS across emerging markets

For CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see

For TURKISH market report, see

For RUSSIAN market report, see (Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru and Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo in Johannesberg; editing by Larry King)