EMERGING MARKETS-Stocks start 2020 with gains as China eases policy

* Investors cheer China’s banks’ reserve ratios cut

* Turkish manufacturing activity contracts in December

* Decline in Polish manufacturing slows in December

Jan 2 (Reuters) - Stocks across emerging markets began the new year with gains after China’s central bank eased monetary policy to prop up the country’s slowing economy.

Markets were also encouraged by U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement on Tuesday that Phase 1 of trade deal with China would be signed on Jan. 15 at the White House.

The People’s Bank of China said it was reducing the cash banks must hold as reserves. The central bank has now cut reserve ratios eight times since early 2018 to give banks more money to lend, with economic growth slowing to its weakest pace in nearly 30 years.

As trade tensions between the world’s top two largest economies relaxed in December, demand for riskier assets grew.

The MSCI’s index for emerging-market stocks finished 2019 with its biggest monthly rise since January. The index was up 0.5% on Thursday.

“Even though the U.S.-China P1 trade deal is likely to be signed early this month, China has stepped in with additional liquidity measures to ensure the economy is given an adequate boost,” Stephen Innes, chief Asia market strategist at AxiTrader, wrote in a note.

Chinese shares jumped on the first trading day of the new decade.

Currencies, on the other hand, traded in tight ranges. MSCI’s index for emerging market currencies was flat.

Turkey’s lira was weakened after Turkish manufacturing slowed for a third straight month in December.

The South African rand gained against the dollar. The Hungarian forint, Polish zloty and Romanian leu fell against the euro.

A business survey showed Polish manufacturing activity slipped again in December, but declines slowed in new orders and production, suggested it might improve in 2020.

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For RUSSIAN market report, see (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru, editing by Larry King)