* Mainland China shares lead equity declines
* Bank of Korea and Indonesia cut interest rates
By Agamoni Ghosh
July 18 (Reuters) – Emerging-market shares fell on Thursday amid weak economic data from Japan and disappointing corporate results in the United States, the latest signs the U.S.-China trade conflict was unlikely to be resolved anytime soon.
MSCI’s index for emerging-market shares slid 0.2%, led by declines for mainland China shares led declines, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 0.6%.
Outside Asia, Moscow stocks fell 0.3%. Johannesburg trading was mostly flat.
Most developing-world currencies gained against a tepid dollar.
Growth worries have pushed central banks around the world to adopt a more dovish stance, following the U.S. Federal Reserve’s lead, with the Bank of Korea going a step ahead and surprising with a rate cut on Thursday.
South Korea’s won rose 0.2% after the Bank of Korea unexpectedly cut interest rates on Thursday. A brewing trade dispute with Japan may have put more pressure on the trade-dependent economy’s central bank to move.
“The addition of the Japan-South Korea trade tensions into the mix was perhaps the final straw that tipped the BoK over into calling for a rate cut, against a market consensus of a 15/10 hold/cut,” said Howie Lee, an economist at OCBC Bank.
Indonesia’s central bank joined the doves, cutting its benchmark interest rate for the first time in nearly two years in a bid to lift sluggish economic growth. The rupiah was little changed.
The rand was up 0.3% before a South African central bank meeting where officials were expected to cut rates by 25 basis points.
The Turkish lira was only 0.2% lower, an underwhelming response to the U.S. decision to remove Ankara from the F-35 fighter jet programme after it began taking delivery of a Russian missile defence system last week.
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For RUSSIAN market report, see (Reporting by Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru)