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Sept 18 (Reuters) – Emerging market (EM) stocks fell on Monday in a glum start to a week packed with major central bank policy decisions, with Hong Kong’s benchmark index dragged down by prolonged malaise in China’s property sector.

The Hang Seng .HSI closed down 1.4%, bogged down by a 2.0% drop in the property index .HSMPI after police detained some staff at China’s embattled developer Evergrande Group 3333.HK, suggesting a new investigation.

MSCI’s index for EM equities .MSCIEFwas down 0.8% by 8:55 GMT.

Chipmakers were also a drag, with South Korea’s benchmark stock index .KS11 falling 1.0% after Reuters on Friday reported that Taiwan’s TSMC 2330.TW told its major suppliers to delay delivery of high-end chip-making equipment on demand worries.

After signs of stabilisation in the Chinese economy propped up EM stocks last week, the focus will now be on the Federal Reserve’s rate decision due on Wednesday, where the central bank is widely expected to hold interest rates steady.

“If the U.S. economy reaccelerates… then the Fed will hike further and the dollar will strengthen, which could start to undermine EM equities,” said Jon Harrison, managing director of emerging market macro strategy at TS Lombard.

EM currencies .MIEM00000CUS were down 0.1% against a stronger dollar, with rate decisions from Turkey, South Africa and Brazil on tap in the coming days.


Turkey’s lira TRYTOM=D3 weakened beyond 27 to the dollar for the first time in more than three weeks, ahead of a central bank meeting later this week, where it is expected to hike rates by 500 basis points.

In central and eastern Europe, the Czech crown EURCZK= gained 0.4% versus the euro after Governor Ales Michl said on Sunday that the central bank will not cut rates in September amid high inflation and will wait for data in November and beyond.

Separately, data showed August producer prices rose more than expected by 1.8% on an annual basis.

Poland’s zloty PLNEUR=R rose 0.2% ahead of the country’s net annual inflation numbers. Economists polled by Reuters expect price growth to cool to 10% in August from July’s 10.6%.

Meanwhile, Moody’s downgraded Ethiopia’s foreign currency rating deeper into junk on high likelihood of a default, while upgrading Greece’s sovereign credit rating as it expects an even faster reduction in the general government debt burden.

(Reporting by Johann M Cherian and Amruta Khandekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonia Cheema)