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EMERGING MARKETS-Emerging markets stocks rise, FX edges up as risk-taking returns

Aaron Saldanha


* South African rand firms, Vodacom drags local stocks lower

* Tepid oil prices pressure Russian stocks, Rosneft falls

* Venezuelan dollar bonds steady following Wednesday's rally

* ECB meeting eyed by emerging Europe investors

Jan 24 (Reuters) - Emerging market stocks gained on Thursday, while developing world currencies generally edged up against the dollar, as risk-taking crept back into markets.

Stocks in the developing world were led higher by Asian shares, following a gain on Wall Street overnight. Concerns about weakening global economic growth limited the participation of many investors, with a meeting of the European Central Bank due later in the day.

MSCI's index of developing world stocks rose half a percent, aided by gains of at least 0.4 percent in Asian heavyweights such as China and South Korea .

South Africa's rand firmed 0.2 percent, to build on Wednesday's 1.1 percent gain which came on a day when data showed inflation in Africa's most industrialised economy slowed.

"I think the firmness is a desire by emerging market investors to have more risk," said Koon Chow, an emerging market (EM) macro and FX strategist with UBP.

"The South African rand is typically a currency that has high volatility and when risk appetite for EM does well, the rand typically does very well."

South African stocks slid 0.4 percent, dragged lower by shares in mobile operator Vodacom Group, which dropped on the firm reporting a slowdown in quarterly revenue growth.

Russia's rouble firmed 0.2 percent, buoyed by local demand linked to month-end tax payments. Caution capped gains as investors watched developments in Venezuela.

Russian officials said the Venezuelan opposition leader declaring himself interim president was illegal, raising concerns of more geopolitical tensions between Moscow and the West.

Stocks in Russia retreated from a more than three and a half month closing peak on Wednesday, dipping 0.1 percent as energy shares fell.

The country's top oil producer, Rosneft, fell 2.6 percent against a backdrop of soft oil prices, as concerns of slowing global economic growth capping fuel demand weighed.

The dollar bonds of Venezuela's government and state-run oil firm PDVSA steadied, having surged on Wednesday when the United States backed opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country's interim president.

Turkish stocks gained 0.7 percent, aided by financials and industrial stocks, while the lira firmed 0.2 percent.

In emerging Europe, most currencies weakened against the greenback and to a lesser extent against the euro as data showed manufacturing activity in Germany - a key trade partner for the region - contracted for the first time in more than four years.

The European Central Bank is all but certain to keep policy unchanged at a meeting on Thursday but may acknowledge a sharp slowdown in economic growth, raising the prospect of any further policy normalisation being delayed.

UBP's Chow said the main impact on emerging European currencies would be in terms of whether comments from ECB President Mario Draghi would weigh further on a euro, which was generally weaker after soft purchasing managers' data from France and Germany.

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For CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see

For TURKISH market report, see

For RUSSIAN market report, see (Reporting by Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Potter)