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CEE MARKETS-Currencies regain ground as lira calms down, caution remains

* Hungary bond sales smooth, demand weaker than usual * CEE currencies firm as Turkish lira jitters don't return * Investors remain cautious, equities mixed (Recasts with bond auctions, Turkish finance minister's comment) By Sandor Peto BUDAPEST, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Central European currencies regained some ground on Thursday, benefiting from a calmer Turkish lira after jitters earlier this week that spilled over into other emerging markets.

The currencies have often eased this year when investors chose the safer dollar.

They were helped on Thursday by the greenback's retreat against a basket of currencies and the lira's rise as Turkish Finance Minister Berat Albayrak assured investors that Turkey would emerge stronger from the lira's crisis.

The zloty approached the 4.3 psychological line against the euro, firming 0.6 percent to 4.3057 by 1417 GMT.

The forint gained 0.4 percent while the Czech crown and the leu strengthened by 0.2 percent.

Caution was reflected by relatively modest demand at Hungary's bi-weekly government bond tenders, as well as a mixed performance by regional equities.

The Budapest government sold 75.8 billion forints ($266.85 million) worth of 3-, 5- and 10-year bonds at the auctions, more than its 55 billion forint original offer, but the total amount of bids was lower than usual, except for the well-bid long maturity.

The papers were sold at yields slightly above secondary market levels.

Yields rose further later in the secondary market as some investors were unwilling to hold long positions ahead of a long weekend which will end with Hungary's Aug. 20 national holiday.

Three-year bonds traded at 1.75 percent, up by 3 basis points from their pre-auction levels.

"This was not a strong auction, I would say it was neutral, with not very strong demand," one Budapest-based fixed income trader said. "But the market is quite calm." Earlier this week, Hungarian bond yields moved 10-15 basis points up-and-down, tracking the lira's jitters, which also moved the forint and the region's other currencies.

Romania sold slightly less 13-year bonds than planned.

Central Europe's main equity indices were mixed after a decline in Asian markets which remain nervous over a trade war between China and the United States.

Warsaw's bluechip index shed 0.8 percent, Prague fell 0.7 percent, while Bucharest gained 0.8 percent.

Budapest jumped almost 2 percent, driven by an about 3 percent gain by two bluechips, OTP Bank and pharmaceuticals Richter.

OTP which reported record second-quarter profits last week dashed through the 10,000-forints ($35.23) psychological level, to trade at 10,160 forints.

CEE SNAPSHOT AT MARKETS 1617 CET CURRENCI ES Latest Previous Daily Change bid close change in 2018 Czech Hungary Polish Romanian Croatian Serbian Note: calculated from 1800 CET daily change Latest Previous Daily Change close change in 2018 Prague 1060.89 1068.450 -0.71% -1.60% 0 Budapest 36511.31 35826.14 +1.91% -7.28% Warsaw 2254.80 2272.73 -0.79% -8.39% Bucharest 8144.57 8084.04 +0.75% +5.04% Ljubljana <.SBITOP 877.01 878.31 -0.15% +8.76% > Zagreb 1820.63 1820.03 +0.03% -1.21% Belgrade <.BELEX1 733.33 734.61 -0.17% -3.48% 5> Sofia 633.62 631.17 +0.39% -6.47% BONDS Yield Yield Spread Daily (bid) change vs Bund change in Czech spread Republic 2-year 5-year 10-year Poland 2-year 5-year 10-year FORWARD RATE AGREEMEN T 3x6 6x9 9x12 3M interban k Czech Rep 1.71 1.84 1.94 1.46 (PRIBOR= ) Hungary 0.52 0.74 0.96 0.19 Poland 1.73 1.75 1.80 1.70 Note: FRA are for ask prices quotes ************************************************* ************* ($1 = 283.8600 forints) (Additional reporting by Mrika Krufova in Prague; Editing by Mark Heinrich)