* China’s manufacturing activity unexpectedly firms
* Gazprom hits three-week high as supplies to China start
* Russian shares also boosted by higher oil prices
* Turkey’s lira, South Africa’s rand ease
By Ambar Warrick
Dec 2 (Reuters) - Emerging market stocks edged up on Monday after declining for two straight sessions, as investors cheered an unexpected rebound in Chinese manufacturing activity, while Russia’s Gazprom hit a three-week high as it began gas supplies to China.
Gazprom’s shares were set for their best day in more than a week, as Russian President Vladimir Putin said supplies to China via the Power of Siberia pipeline would help the two countries reach $200 billion in trade by 2024.
Russian shares firmed about 0.6% and were slated for their best day in more than three weeks, also helped by a jump in oil prices as signs of rising manufacturing activity in China pointed towards higher future fuel demand.
China’s factory activity expanded at the quickest pace in almost three years in November, a private business survey showed on Monday, sparking a rally in global stocks.
An index of emerging market shares rose about 0.1%, led by gains in China and Hong Kong . Chinese stocks ended higher, but pared early gains as concerns about a wider slowdown lingered.
“The Chinese economy is likely to slow further given that growth in the property sector is unsustainable,” said Jason Tuvey, senior economist at Capital Economics.
Assets in the developing world marked a fairly muted start to December, having ended the previous month marginally lower amid mixed Sino-U.S. trade signals and weakening economic indicators.
Demand for riskier assets has waned as an initial trade deal between Washington and Beijing remains elusive two weeks before the next round of U.S. tariffs kick in on Chinese imports. A basket of emerging market currencies was trading slightly lower against a firmer dollar on Monday.
The Turkish lira eased 0.2% after gaining for two straight days, despite data showing the country’s economy expanding about 0.9% year-on-year in the third quarter, as expected.
“We’re now starting to see some of the (trade) imbalances in Turkey build again. Ultimately, strong growth will continue to see these imbalances build, and the lira will come under pressure,” Tuvey added.
South Africa’s rand slipped about 0.2% against the dollar, while currencies in central and eastern European economies firmed slightly against the euro.
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For RUSSIAN market report, see (Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)