January 16, 2020 / 9:19 AM / 4 days ago

EMERGING MARKETS-EM stocks firm on Sino-U.S. trade truce; Turkish equities hit record high

* U.S., China sign Phase 1 deal in Washington on Jan. 15

* Chinese shares slip on caution about lasting truce

* Turkish equities soar ahead of central bank meeting

* South Africa’s rand gains ahead of economic data

* Russian rouble slides after government resigns

By Sagarika Jaisinghani

Jan 16 (Reuters) - Emerging market stocks climbed on Thursday after China committed to boosting purchases of U.S. goods and services in an initial trade deal signed on Wednesday, while Turkish equities hit a record high ahead of a central bank meeting later in the day.

An index of emerging market stocks rose about 0.2%, as the world’s top two economies finally inked the deal, first announced last month, to defuse their prolonged tariff war that has hurt business sentiment and dented global growth.

But caution over how long the trade truce would last kept gains in check, with Chinese shares ending Thursday’s session down about half a percent. Data showing China’s December new home prices growing at their weakest pace in 17 months also hurt sentiment.

Other assets in the developing world benefited from an increase in risk appetite, as investors counted on no further escalation between Washington and Beijing as they enter the next phase of negotiations to resolve structural economic issues.

“We believe the agreement underpins a positive outlook for risk assets, especially emerging market stocks,” said Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management.

“But it is also important for investors to understand the limitations of the deal; we see the deal as representing a partial calming rather than an end to trade tensions.”

Turkey’s stock index rose over 1% to an all-time high ahead of a central bank meeting, where it will announce its policy rate following an aggressive easing cycle last year to support a flagging economy.

A Reuters poll found economists were split between those predicting another rate cut and those who see no change at all after the central bank halved its policy rate in 2019.

The Turkish lira, however, eased 0.2% as another survey predicted the economy would grow just 3% this year and next, well shy of a government forecast. The currency is still trying to recover from a crisis in 2018 in which it lost nearly 30% of its value.

Russia’s rouble fell about 0.3%, a day after the surprise resignation of the country’s government triggered market volatility.

The South African rand held steady against the dollar, as investors awaited mining output data and an interest rate decision by the central bank.

Currencies in central and eastern European economies including Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic were a touch lighter versus the euro.

For GRAPHIC on emerging market FX performance in 2020, see tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging index performance in 2020, see tmsnrt.rs/2OusNdX

For TOP NEWS across emerging markets

For CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see

For TURKISH market report, see

For RUSSIAN market report, see (Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru Editing by Gareth Jones)

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