* Shekel up vs dollar on relief Israel has not hit back at Iran

* Ashmore posts worse than expected outflows

* Ghana fails to reach debt deal with international bondholders

* Turkey unemployment dips to 8.7%, near lowest in a decade

* Stocks down 0.7%, currencies flat

April 15 (Reuters) - Emerging market stocks started the week lower on Monday after Iran's retaliatory attack on Israel stoked worries about the conflict in Middle East spilling over.

The MSCI index for emerging market stocks fell 0.7%, while currencies were nearly flat at 0845 GMT.

Also weighing on emerging market assets were lingering concerns about a potential delay in interest rate cuts by the U.S. Federal Reserve, helping the dollar hold gains to its highest level this year.

Israel's shekel jumped 1.4% against the dollar in what market players said was a "relief rally" as Israel has not hit back at Iran so far, while Tel Aviv stocks were up 1.0%.

"The shekel is benefiting from efforts made by Western officials to contain tensions and prevent a full-scale war between Israel and Iran," said Piotr Matys, senior FX analyst at In Touch Capital Markets.

Major stock markets in the Gulf were mixed after Iran launched a retaliatory attack on Israel.

Russia's rouble weakened slightly against the greenback, while South Africa's rand eased 0.3%.

Washington and London on Friday prohibited metal-trading exchanges from accepting new aluminium, copper and nickel produced by Russia and barred the import of those metals into the U.S. and Britain.

In Turkey, unemployment rate fell 0.3% percentage points month on month to 8.7% in February, hovering near its lowest levels in a decade.

The lira slipped against the dollar, while Turkish stocks shed 0.3%.

Turkey's central bank also posted a 2023 loss of 818.2 billion lira ($25.25 billion) on the back of a steep loss stemming from the "KKM" foreign exchange-protected deposit scheme.

Beleaguered stocks in China bucked weakness, with the Shanghai Composite index and CSI300 index bouncing 1.3% and 2.1%, respectively, as investors interpreted the new guidelines on the country's capital market as a positive signal for the stock market.

Amundi, Europe's largest asset manager, said that equities in India and emerging markets outside China will offer the most appealing returns in the coming 10 years, with U.S. stocks overall likely to lag.

Meanwhile, Ghana failed to strike a deal with two bondholder groups to restructure $13 billion of international bonds, dealing a blow to its efforts to swiftly emerge from default and economic crisis.

British fund manager Ashmore reported a drop in assets under management owing to choppy risk appetite and mixed results from emerging markets.

Currencies in central and eastern Europe gained against the euro, with Poland's zloty leading the charge with a gain of 0.2%.

Final figures showed consumer prices in Poland rose by 0.2% in March, as reported earlier.

The Hungarian forint was steady after losses last week.

Hungary's government will consider whether to enforce lower fuel prices after a review by the Central Statistics Office (KSH) of regional average price levels, Economy Minister Marton Nagy told business daily Vilaggazdasag.


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(Reporting by Bansari Mayur Kamdar in Bengaluru; editing by Jason Neely)