Emerging market stocks, currencies jump on trade optimism
* China shares lead EM equity gains
* Kospi pares gains on U.S-N.Korea nuclear talks suspension
* Russia's rouble rises on higher oil prices and tax
* Turkish lira down after disappointing unemployment data
By Agamoni Ghosh
March 15 (Reuters) - Emerging market currencies and stocks
rose on Friday, on track to end the week higher as investor
sentiment lifted on reports that Beijing and Washington had made
more progress in their trade talks.
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He spoke by telephone with U.S.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative
Robert Lighthizer, with the two sides making further substantive
progress on trade talks, Xinhua news agency said on Friday.
The news comes a day after reports suggested that a meeting
between U.S. President Donald Trump and his counterpart Xi
Jinping was delayed until April.
"We believe the discussion remains fluid but the risk of
extending (trade talks)remains," said Christopher Wong, a senior
foreign exchange strategist at Maybank.
MSCI's index for emerging market stocks neared its
best levels since August 2018, with mainland Chinese shares
leading gains on optimism over U.S.-China
trade talks and after the government reiterated its commitment
to boosting growth.
South Korea's KOSPI share index rose as much as 1.2
percent but gave up some gains following reports that North
Korea was considering suspending nuclear talks with the United
Stocks in Johannesburg rose 0.5 percent led by
Anglogold Ashanti after data showed January's mining
sector output was marginally stronger than expected mainly due
to higher gold output.
South African lender Standard Bank also rose after
the company said it would cut around 1,200 jobs and close 91
branches as part of efforts to digitise its retail and business
Russia's MOEX index rose 0.4 percent on the day but
was on track to record its sixth-straight weekly loss.
Most developing world currencies gained as the dollar
weakened, with South Africa's rand leading gains.
Russia's rouble firmed, helped by month-end tax
payments that usually prompt export-focused companies to convert
their foreign currency to meet local liabilities.
The Turkish lira was the only major loser after data
showed unemployment reached its highest level in nine years at a
time when the country is on the brink of a recession.
President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that structural
reforms starting in April will strengthen the country's economic
rebalancing and Turkey will return to growth in the second
quarter of the year.
In emerging Europe, the Czech crown was marginally
lower against the euro after data showed industrial output fell
by 1.1 percent year-on-year in January, partly due to base
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(Reporting by Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru; editing by Emelia
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