February 18, 2019 / 9:31 AM / 3 months ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Stocks rise as China shares gain on trade-talks optimism

* China stocks log best day since early November

* Turkish lira falls as central bank cuts reserve requirement

By Susan Mathew

Feb 18 (Reuters) - Emerging-market stocks rose on Monday as Chinese blue chips surged more than 3 percent, encouraged by progress in Sino-U.S. trade talks that might see an extension of the deadline to strike a trade deal.

U.S. and Chinese officials will continue negotiations in Washington this week after both sides reported progress at talks in Beijing last week. U.S. President Donald Trump repeated on Friday that he may extend the deadline from March 1.

"Despite scant details, investors remain optimistic on trade talks," analysts at Mizuho bank said in a note. "With both sides set to resume negotiation in Washington this week, market will continue to look out for signs of concrete progress."

With most Asian markets in the black, the MSCI index of emerging-market stocks rose 0.8 percent. Trading was light with U.S. markets closed for the Presidents Day holiday.

China's blue-chip index climbed 3.2 percent, and the Shanghai Composite index rose 2.7 percent - both logging their best day since Nov 2.

Hong Kong stocks gained 1.6 percent. Export- reliant indices in South Korea and Taiwan rose more than 0.6 percent each. Elsewhere, South Africa's benchmark index was up 0.6 percent, reaching its highest in more than 15 weeks.

Among currencies, the Chinese yuan eked out gains against a weaker dollar. Optimism around trade put pressure on the dollar as investors bet on riskier assets.

The Russian rouble was supported by higher oil prices. The South African rand struggled to hold gains.

The Turkish lira slumped 0.7 percent after a central bank decision to lower the level of lira reserves that banks must hold against deposits. That raised concern the bank might loosen monetary policy.

"It's hardly enough to make a significant impact in terms of liquidity but could be quite damaging in terms of undermining the perception that it is hawkish and in rebuilding the central bank's lost credibility," said Tim Ash, emerging markets senior sovereign strategist at BlueBay Asset Management

Separately, Standard and Poor's affirmed Turkey's sovereign ratings with a stable outlook but warned that ratings may be lowered if it sees greater chances of systemic distress in the banking system.

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 Larry King)

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