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Emerging stocks, FX rise on hope of progress in trade talks

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Emerging market shares rebounded on Tuesday after four sessions of losses buoyed by hopes of a resolution of trade tensions between China and the United States.

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U.S. and Chinese officials expressed hope on Monday that a new round of talks this week would bring them closer to easing their seven-month trade war which has contributed to slowing global growth and roiled financial markets.

The world’s two largest economies are trying to hammer out a deal before a March 1 deadline after which U.S. tariffs on 200 billion dollars worth of Chinese imports are scheduled to increase to 25 per cent from 10 per cent.

Analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research said in a note that an extension to the March 1 deadline was possible, but they warned against the optimism around it.

“An extension with little meaningful progress (on a narrow trade deal) may now disappoint, while global trade is unlikely to recover in this scenario,” they said.

Mainland China stocks extended gains to a fourth day, while Taiwan shares rose nearly one per cent.

Equities in Turkey, Russia and South Africa climbed by between 0.4 and 1.1 per cent, helping the MSCI index of developing world shares rise 0.4 per cent.

Emerging market currencies firmed against a steady dollar. Most Asian currencies gained ground, while South Africa’s rand firmed 0.2 per cent, cutting some of Monday’s losses.

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The rand lost more than one per cent on Monday after state electricity firm Eskom stepped up controlled power cuts because of a shortage of generating capacity.

India’s rupee was up 0.6 per cent at a near one-month high ahead of January consumer inflation data due later in the day that could determine the central bank’s next interest rate move.

The bank unexpectedly cut rates this month after inflation fell in December, with Governor Shaktikanta Das hinting at more loosening if inflation remained muted.

A Reuters’ poll predicted inflation reversed course and accelerated in January, but was still below the central bank’s medium-term target.

Among emerging European currencies, the Hungarian forint strengthened after the country’s core inflation jumped to a five-year high of 3.2 per cent in January.

That beat estimates and revived expectations for near-term liquidity tightening by the central bank. (Reuters/NAN)


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