March 6, 2019 / 9:34 AM / 3 months ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Emerging stocks rise on further China stimulus hopes

* China stocks lift EM on stimulus hopes

* Rising Korea peninsula tension hits S.Korea stocks, won

* Turkey, Poland await central bank rate decisions

By Susan Mathew and Aaron Saldanha

March 6 (Reuters) - Most emerging market shares rose on Wednesday as hopes of further stimulus measures in China supported risk sentiment, while currencies weakened as unexpectedly upbeat U.S. data boosted the dollar.

A strong showing by China shares buoyed MSCI's emerging markets stocks index, which extended gains to a fourth straight day.

The Shanghai Composite index ended up 1.6 percent to post its highest close since June last year, while the country's blue chips index rose 0.8 percent.

On Tuesday China's government promised tax cuts aimed at boosting domestic consumption in the world's second largest economy. "I think there is some relief that stimulus is coming," said Gareth Leather, a senior economist with Capital Economics.

Investors now hope for any further measures from the annual session of the National People's Congress (parliament) underway in Beijing that would buttress demand.

"The stimulus should be enough to put a floor under Chinese growth but it's unlikely to drive a big rebound," Leather warned. It "may be tinged with a little bit of disappointment that it is not on the same scale of previous years."

Most other Asian shares ticked higher, while South Korean stocks slipped as worries about tensions in the Korean peninsula resurfaced, with North Korea opting to restore part of a missile test site it had begun dismantling earlier.

U.S. President Donald Trump's national security adviser warned that new sanctions could be introduced if Pyongyang did not scrap its nuclear weapons programme.

"I think the thing then is whether we see a rise in tensions as we did in 2017...or you see this uneasy peace continue," said Leather.

South Korea's won weakened 0.36 percent to its lowest in nearly three weeks.

A firmer dollar pressured developing currencies after strong data on U.S. services industries and new home sales assuaged some fears about the world's top economy's growth rate.

Turkey's lira marked time ahead of a central bank rate decision due later in the day, at which the key rate is expected to be left at 24 percent.

Last month the bank said it would maintain a tight stance until it sees a "convincing improvement" in inflation. Economists polled by Reuters expect the bank to start easing by June and cut the rate by 500 basis points by the end of the year.

Russia's rouble slipped marginally as oil prices fell. February inflation data, due for release later on Wednesday, are expected to have risen slightly from January.

But a Reuters poll showed that inflation in 2019 is likely to be lower than previously anticipated, indicating rate hikes might not be in the offing. Russia's economy minister on Wednesday revised the 2019 estimate for the rouble downwards to 66.4 roubles per dollar.

Poland's zloty was steady against the euro in the run-up to a central bank rate decision. No change in the interest rate was expected.

For GRAPHIC on emerging market FX performance 2019, see tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging index performance 2019, 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 and Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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