Emerging markets rocky, dollar dips before Fed minutes

Wed Aug 19, 2015 7:54am EDT
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By Marc Jones

LONDON (Reuters) - Fears about China's economy kept emerging markets under heavy pressure on Wednesday, while the dollar eased as traders awaited minutes from last month's Federal Reserve meeting for any hints on U.S. rate hike plans.

On another rollercoaster day in Asia, Chinese shares plunged again before ending higher, Vietnam devalued its currency and Japan's Nikkei index .N225 took its biggest fall in more than a month.

European shares fell and index futures suggested the downbeat tone would carry over to Wall Street SPc1 ESc1.

In Germany, lawmakers overwhelmingly voted in favor of a third Greek bailout, increasing the likelihood Athens would be able to make a loan repayment to the European Central Bank later this week.

The main European equity markets <0#.INDEXE> were down between 0.7 and 1.2 percent and safe-haven government bonds were back in favor [GVD/EUR].

The dollar .DXY weakened broadly pending the Fed's minutes and U.S. inflation data that could signal whether the central bank is on track to raise interest rates next month.

It would be the first rise in almost a decade, but rocky emerging markets and a renewed slump in commodity prices that will drag on inflation are raising doubts about the timing.

Any mention of the slowdown in China or worries about oil prices trading near six-year lows could be seen as a sign the Fed is prepared to wait longer.   Continued...

A man walks past a display showing stock prices in Tokyo August 12, 2015.   REUTERS/Thomas Peter