January 2, 2020 / 10:13 AM / in 2 months

GLOBAL MARKETS-New year cheer for stocks as rally rumbles on

* Asian and European stocks boosted by China stimulus

* China blue chips jump after central cuts reserve requirement

* Trump says Phase 1 trade deal to be signed Jan. 15.

* Oil inches higher after tensions in Iraq

By Marc Jones

LONDON, Jan 2 (Reuters) - World stock markets began the new year with a shot of Chinese stimulus, ensuring there was no immediate hangover after the gains of 2019.

China's central bank said overnight it was lowering how much cash banks were required to hold, the eighth reduction since 2018. The move that should free around 800 billion yuan ($115 billion) to boost its economy.

In addition, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that a long-awaited Phase 1 trade pact with Beijing would be signed on Jan 15.

Europe's main markets gained 0.4% to 0.8%, following Asia higher in their first trading session of the new decade. U.S. futures suggested similar gains on Wall Street, with S&P 500 e-minis up 0.4%.

MSCI's broadest index of world shares added 0.2% to December's 3.3% jump and the 24% gained in 2019.

"Over a longer-term horizon, we believe global stocks have greater performance potential than global bonds, supported by continued growth and moderate inflation," Franklin Templeton said in its 2020 outlook, although it stressed it remained cautious for now.

Some gloomy euro zone manufacturing PMI data were revised higher, which pushed up inflation expectations and saw Germany's 15-year bond yield briefly turn positive for the first time since July.

"Although firms grew somewhat more optimistic about the year ahead, a return to growth remains a long way off," said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, which compiles the purchasing manager indices.

DOLLAR DALLIES

In currency markets, the dollar rose against major peers, but the gains were capped amid expectations of a better outlook for global growth and trade and an end to U.S. economic outperformance.

The dollar was 0.1% stronger against the yen at 108.81 . The euro dropped 0.02% to 1.1208.

After the stimulus in Beijing, China's yuan closed at 6.9631 , its strongest finish against the dollar since Aug. 2. The offshore yuan also gained after an initial downward move .

The cut in reserve requirements had been expected before January's Lunar New Year holidays and after Premier Li Keqiang's pledge last month to provide more stimulus.

China's blue-chip CSI300 index, one of the world's best performers last year, rose 1.4%, reaching its highest since Feb. 7, 2018. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1.25%.

Oil prices rose as tensions in the Middle East fuelled worries about supply. The U.S. military carried out air strikes against an Iran-backed militia this past weekend. Consequently, protesters stormed the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Wednesday, then withdrew after the United States deployed extra troops.

U.S. crude was up 0.3% to $61.28 and global benchmark Brent crude rose 0.4% to $66.27 per barrel, building on a rise that gave oil markets their biggest annual gain in three years in 2019.

Gold, which had benefited from a weaker dollar, was up 0.25% on the spot market despite the U.S. currency's gains. It last fetched $1,520 per ounce. ($1 = 6.9633 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Marc Jones)

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