February 19, 2019 / 9:11 AM / 3 months ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Stocks tepid ahead of trade talks

* China stocks retreat from Monday’s highs

* Eskom weighs on S.African rand ahead of budget

By Susan Mathew

Feb 19 (Reuters) - Emerging market shares largely fell on Tuesday as investors awaited outcomes from U.S.-China trade talks to be held in Washington this week.

After news of progress in trade talks in Beijing last week had boosted stocks on Monday, investors are now keenly watching for headway from a new round of discussions between U.S. and Chinese officials.

With U.S. markets being closed overnight for President’s day, “markets are more or less subdued and caught in range due to absence of catalyst and in anticipation of trade talk outcome in DC”, said Christopher Wong, a senior FX Strategist at Maybank.

The MSCI index of emerging market shares slipped 0.2 percent as Chinese blue chips retreated from last session’s 3 percent jump to close 0.2 percent lower. The Shanghai Composite closed slightly higher.

While most other Asian bourses fell, Indian shares gained 0.4 percent each in a relief rally after a seven-session losing run.

Stock markets in Turkey fell 0.7 percent, while those in Russia and South Africa were sluggish.

A weaker dollar did little to support currencies of developing market economies which fell across the board.

The South African rand dipped 0.4 percent as investors mulled the impact of the financial crisis at state power utility Eskom ahead of the national budget to be presented on Wednesday.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is set to announce a bailout for the firm during his budget speech on Wednesday. Eskom’s debt of about 420 billion rand ($30 billion) is under government guarantee, a major risk to the country’s sovereign credit rating.

The currencies of India and Pakistan slipped 0.2 percent and 0.3 percent respectively, pressured by rising diplomatic tensions between the nations.

India’s top military commander in the disputed Kashmir region said on Tuesday Pakistan’s main Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency was involved in an attack last week on a security convoy claimed by a Pakistan-based militant group.

Russia’s rouble was supported by higher oil prices and month-end tax payments which usually prompt companies to convert their dollars to meet local duties.

Nigeria’s naira resumed its fall after a delay in the country’s presidential elections had dented its stock, currency and bond markets in the last session.

Currencies of emerging European counties were little changed against a steady euro.

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 Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru; Editing by Ed Osmond)

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