February 13, 2019 / 9:19 AM / 5 months ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Trade optimism buoys emerging stocks, FX

* China, Hong Kong stocks lead gains

* Steady dollar helps EM currencies rise

By Susan Mathew

Feb 13 (Reuters) - Emerging market stocks and currencies rose on Wednesday on signs of progress in the U.S.-China trade dispute, after U.S. President Donald Trump said he was open to extending the tariff ceasefire deadline.

Mainland China and Hong Kong shares surged along with most of Asia, helping the MSCI index of developing world stocks rise 0.4 percent.

President Trump said he could let the deadline for a trade agreement between the two countries “slide for a little while” if the two side were close to a complete deal, although he preferred not to.

“A glimmer of hope as U.S. president Trump hinted that he could let the 1 March tariff deadline slide for a while ... was sufficient to lift financial markets,” said OCBC analysts in a note.

U.S. tariffs on $200 billion worth of imports from China are scheduled to rise to 25 percent from 10 percent if the two sides cannot reach a deal by the deadline.

The tariffs implemented so far have already started to affect corporate earnings across the globe, while the uncertainty about the trade war has sent investors fleeing from riskier assets over the last seven months.

However, gains on the MSCI EM stocks benchmark were limited by losses across bourses in Turkey, Russia and South Africa.

In Russia, both dollar and rouble stock index slipped half a percent, though not far off record highs hit last week, with investors digesting risk of new sanctions.

Emerging market currencies firmed against the dollar as the risk-on sentiment spurred inflows into some high yielders of the developing world.

The Chinese yuan climbed 0.2 percent, while South Africa’s rand and the Turkish lira rose more than 0.1 percent each.

Russia’s rouble strengthened 0.3 percent, drawing additional support from oil prices jumping one percent as Venezuela sanctions start to bite and on deep supply cuts from OPEC.

Hungary’s forint extended gains after a rise in the country’s core inflation in January revived expectations that the central bank could start tightening monetary policy soon.

The Czech crown rose after inflation in January rose more than expected, signalling that a rate hike by the central bank may be in the offing.

For GRAPHIC on emerging market FX performance 2018, see tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging index performance 2018, 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 Susan Mathew in Bengaluru, Editing by William Maclean)

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