* Soft U.S. data lifts rate cut hopes

* Rand stabilises after two-day selloff

* CEE currencies dip vs euro ahead of ECB

June 6 (Reuters) - Emerging market equities extended gains on Thursday, as soft U.S. labour market data renewed bets of an interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve this year, while investors assessed the political path in major economies following a slew of elections.

The MSCI's index of EM equities climbed 0.9%, rising for a second session as U.S. Treasury yields came under pressure after data pointed to a moderating labour market.

The dollar slipped against major currencies as investors priced in nearly 50 basis points of rate cuts from the Fed this year, with the first expected to come in September.

The South African rand rose slightly to 18.89 per dollar, after touching a six-week low on Wednesday on concerns about who the African National Congress would form a coalition with, after it lost its majority for the first time in 30 years in last week's election.

The ANC is leaning towards trying to form a government of national unity for South Africa, it said on Wednesday, but the second-largest party said it would not join a government that included some of its smaller rivals.

"The option of a coalition with EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters) and MK (uMkhonto we Sizwe) implies a big shift...many things will be very complicated for the mining sector that will have a big cost for the budget," said Sergi Lanau, director of global EM strategy at Oxford Economics.

"If it's with the Democratic Alliance and other small parties, then it's a government that mixes a bit of everything. It would be a relief for markets and over the next few years it would most likely be a status quo."

The Indian rupee slipped, while the Mexican peso strengthened in volatile trading sparked by their respective election outcomes this week.

In Central and Eastern Europe, the Hungarian forint and the Polish zloty dipped against the euro ahead of the European Central Bank's policy decision, which is widely expected to be a rate cut.

Currencies in the region hit multi-month or multi-year highs in May amid signs of an economic recovery as central banks continue to pause or look to slow interest rate cuts.

Poland's central bank left its main interest rate on hold at 5.75% on Wednesday as expected. The National Bank of Poland's Governor Adam Glapinski is set to host a press conference later in the day.

Stock markets in Budapest, Warsaw and Prague rose marginally, tracking a positive mood in Europe.


** Putin says Russia could deploy missiles in striking distance of the West

** Hungary has no plans to stop buying gas from Russia, minister says

** Unwinding of hugely popular currency trade rocks markets

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(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)