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EMERGING MARKETS-Turkey's lira leads losses in emerging FX as Fed-driven rally fades

Sruthi Shankar

rally fades@

* Lira falls as Russia's S-400 system delivered to Turkey

* Chinese trade data largely in-line with expectations

* Thai baht falls as central bank takes aim at inflows

July 12 (Reuters) - Emerging market currencies and stocks hit pause on Friday, as growth and trade worries played on investors' minds after this week's rally fuelled by hopes of looser U.S. monetary policy.

Turkey's lira fell 0.6%, leading declines among emerging currencies, as concerns about potential U.S. sanctions resurfaced after the Turkish defence ministry said the first parts of a Russian S-400 missile defence system were delivered the country.

"As we started to see headlines of S-400 in Turkey, that's when the lira started to selloff," said Cristian Maggio, head of emerging markets strategy at TD Securities.

Maggio also pointed to possible headwinds from the European Union's move to curb contacts and funding for Ankara in retaliation for what it calls Turkey's "illegal" drilling for gas and oil off Cyprus.

"If they are going to suspend funding for Turkey and its projects through EU banks, a number of joint initiatives are going to be put on ice," said Maggio.

Russia's rouble slid 0.4%, and most Asian currencies were in the red after a strong run of gains made this week on expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will cut interest rates this year amid growing signs of trade wars taking a toll on global growth.

Data from China showed exports fell in June as the United States ramped up trade pressure, while imports shrank more than expected, pointing to further strains on the world's second-largest economy.

The offshore yuan held steady as the central bank talked up stimulus measures to stir growth and stock markets closed higher, but ended the week with sharp losses.

The Thai baht fell nearly 0.5% as its central bank took measures against short-term speculative capital inflows by tightening requirements for non-resident holdings of Thai debt securities among others.

The currency has gained 4.8% so far this year making it the best performing Asian currency.

The South African rand rose 0.4%, extending gains from this week after media reports on Thursday state asset manager Public Investment Corporation might consider converting the $6.4 billion debt of struggling state power utility Eskom to equity.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said he aimed to table a bill in parliament on July 23 to give Eskom more money for the current financial year and next.

For GRAPHIC on emerging market FX performance 2019, see http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging index performance 2019, see https://tmsnrt.rs/2OusNdX

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For CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see

For TURKISH market report, see

For RUSSIAN market report, see (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Chopra)