A gauge of emerging market stocks rose on Tuesday, boosted by advances in Asian bourses, while most currencies were range-bound ahead of a crucial U.S. inflation reading.

By 0909 GMT, MSCI's index for emerging market stocks gained 0.2%, while a gauge of currencies was flat.

EM stocks got a boost from a 1.1% gain in South Korean shares, with the index touching its highest level in six weeks, lifted by advances in chip stocks.

Shares in India rose as much as 0.5%, while Malaysian stocks gained 1.3%.

The market is awaiting the January U.S. Consumer Price Index (CPI) reading, due later in the day, to gauge when the Federal Reserve could cut interest rates this year.

"The direction of travel for rates is to move lower over the course of the year, the question is how fast," said Sebastian Vismara, a financial economist at BNY Mellon Investment Management.

Inflation in the U.S. is expected to ease to 2.9% in January on a year-on-year basis from 3.4% in December, according to a poll of economists conducted by Reuters.

In Europe, the Romanian leu held steady at 4.9738 per Euro ahead of a central bank decision on interest rates.

"In Romania, there likely will be some unfavourable base effects in the near term that might keep headline (inflation) elevated or push it even higher, which creates additional nervousness into embarking on rate cuts in the very near term," said BNY Mellon Investment Management's Vismara.

Romania's central bank is widely expected to hold rates steady for a ninth straight meeting, at 7%.

Hungary's forint edged 0.1% lower against the euro, while Poland's zloty eased 0.1%.

In the Gulf, Saudi Arabian shares climbed as much as 0.7% amid rising crude oil prices, while Dubai stocks gained 0.4%.

South Africa's rand firmed 0.2% against the dollar ahead of the release of December mining output data.

Stocks in Europe traded in tight ranges. Turkey's BIST 100 and Poland's WIG 20 were mostly flat, while Budapest stocks gained 0.2%.

Markets in China are closed for the Lunar New Year holidays and will resume trade on Monday, Feb. 19.


** Independent members welcome to form government if they can show majority, Pakistan ex-PM Shehbaz Sharif says

** Index provider MSCI raises India's weightage in its Global Standard index to an all-time high of 18.2%.

(Reporting by Shashwat Chauhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)