April 17, 2019 / 8:33 AM / a year ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Emerging shares, currencies cheered by China data but gains limited

April 17 (Reuters) - Emerging market shares and currencies firmed on Monday after China's economic growth for the first quarter rose unexpectedly, but gains were limited as doubts remain if it may still be too early to call it a recovery.

MSCI's index of emerging market shares climbed 0.3 percent to hover near ten months highs, while its currency index rose 0.2 percent, with China's yuan rising to four week highs.

China's economy grew at a steady 6.4 percent pace in the first quarter, data showed, defying expectations for a further slowdown, as industrial production jumped sharply and consumer demand showed signs of improvement.

This follows a slew of positive China data since late last week and though many had expected a recovery only in the second half of 2019, analysts and traders warns of the sustainability of the turnaround.

"On one hand, positive that Q1 stimulus measures have apparently worked to reverse the Chinese economy but on the other hand, it could lead to dampened hopes of any additional stimulus and a lack of longer term follow through," said a trader in London.

The Shanghai Composite index closed up 0.3 percent, while gains in Chinese blue chips were muted. Shares in Hong Kong, South Korea and South Africa slipped.

But, most other bourses in the developing world rose with Turkey's up more than 0.8 percent and Russia's climbing 0.2 percent higher.

Currencies of emerging markets also gained against a weaker dollar. Commodity giant South Africa's rand firmed half a percent, while Turkey's lira climbed 0.4 percent with bettering ties with the United States adding to the cheer.

Turkey's defense minister said he had "very constructive" talks with U.S. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, state-owned Anadolu news agency reported on Wednesday.

President Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Tuesday Turkey expects President Donald Trump to use a waiver to protect it if the U.S. Congress decides to sanction Ankara over a planned S-400 purchase.

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 in Bengaluru and Helen Reid in London Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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