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Emerging currencies fall on Fed concerns; China shares rally

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(Bloomberg) — Emerging-market currencies fell for a seventh day as speculation over the timing of higher U.S. interest rates sapped appetite for riskier assets. Chinese stocks completed the biggest six-day rally since 2008.

A gauge tracking 20 developing-nation currencies decreased 0.4 percent, taking its rout since May 18 to 2.4 percent. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index slipped 0.4 percent to 1,031.69 at 1:20 p.m. in London as shares in Poland, the Czech Republic and South Africa fell. The Shanghai Composite Index posted a 15 percent, six-day gain on China’s plans to boost foreign access to markets.

U.S. reports on home prices and durable-goods orders are due Tuesday after Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said interest-rate increases will be driven by data. Greece is seeking to revive its bid for aid after the country’s finance minister asked creditors to compromise on austerity demands.

“Panic can only be triggered by a sudden rise in U.S. rates,” Martial Godet, the head of emerging-market equities and derivatives strategy at BNP Paribas SA in Paris, said by e-mail. “China continues to steal the show, while the rest of EM struggles to attract investors.”

Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester said the “time is near” for raising borrowing costs should data meet her forecasts.

Polish elections

Poland’s zloty fell 0.9 percent against the euro. The country witnessed its biggest political upset in a decade as opposition Law and Justice candidate Andrzej Duda defeated the ruling party’s Bronislaw Komorowski for the presidency. That sets the stage for a parliamentary ballot later this year that could unseat one of Europe’s most economically successful governments.

Russia’s ruble depreciated 0.9 percent, while currencies in Turkey and South Africa lost at least 0.6 percent.

The FTSE/JSE Africa All Shares Index dropped 0.7 percent after data showed South Africa’s economy grew at a slower pace in the first quarter as power outages curbed manufacturing output and farming output contracted.

Hungary’s forint depreciated 0.4 percent after the central bank reduced its benchmark interest rate to a record to end eight months of deflation and lift consumer price growth back to its target. The BUX Index added 0.1 percent.

The MSCI developing-nations equity gauge has gained 7.8 percent this year and is valued at 12.3 times 12-month projected earnings, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The MSCI World Index has advanced 5.2 percent and is valued at a multiple of 16.8.

Two out of 10 industry groups in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index rose, while consumer companies sank the most. U.S. exchange-traded funds that invest in emerging-markets had accelerating net inflows in the week ended May 22, led by China and Hong Kong.

China link

The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index added 2.6 percent to the highest close since January 2008, paced by China Life Insurance Co. Hong Kong’s markets were closed Monday for a holiday.

The Shanghai Composite Index’s six-day rally was the biggest among 93 global benchmark indexes tracked by Bloomberg. The government announced Friday that cross-border sales of funds will begin July 1, widening access to financial markets and capital in the world’s second-largest economy. A stock exchange link between Shenzhen and Hong Kong is due to start this year.

The premium investors demand to own emerging-market debt over U.S. Treasuries widened two basis points to 329, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. indexes.

–With assistance from Kyoungwha Kim in Hong Kong and Liau Y- Sing in Kuala Lumpur.