EMERGING MARKETS-Asian currencies firm as dollar, U.S. Treasury yields slide

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    * Thai baht strongest since Sept. 8
    * S.Korean shares down for third day
    * Indonesia, Philippine c.banks' policy review later in the
day

    By Arundhati Dutta
    Nov 18 (Businesshala) - Most emerging Asian currencies firmed on
Thursday, as the dollar slipped off a 16-month peak, pausing for
breath after a recent rally and amid uncertainty over when the
U.S. Federal Reserve will start unwinding its pandemic-era
monetary policy.
     The Thai baht led gains with a 0.3% jump, and was
at its strongest in over two months. The Philippine peso
and South Korean won firmed 0.2% each. 
    The dollar hovered below a 16-month peak it had been scaling
in the past few sessions, while U.S. Treasury yields fell amid
tepid demand at its 20-year auction.
    Investors were also eyeing policy reviews from the
Indonesian and Philippine central banks later in the day, where
both are expected to hold interest rates to aid their countries'
economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Since the pandemic started, Bank Indonesia (BI) has slashed
rates by 150 basis points and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas
(BSP) has cut rates by 200 basis points.
    "Expect elevated price pressures compounded by peso
depreciation and gradually improving growth profile to push the
BSP to begin the process of withdrawing accommodative stance
late in first-quarter of 2022," said Venkateswaran Lavanya, an
analyst at Mizuho Bank, in a note.
    "Bank Indonesia (will stay) accommodative for longer... with
inflationary pressures relatively contained and Indonesian
rupiah depreciation risks manageable, we expect BI to start
normalising policy in (the) second half of 2022," he added.
    Emerging currencies were also helped by comments from
Chicago Federal Reserve President Charles Evans on Wednesday,
who reiterated that it will take until mid-2022 to complete the
Fed's wind-down of its bond-buying programme.
    "The primary narrative surrounding the Fed is still about
the tapering ending earlier than expected and/or the hiking pace
(being) faster than expected," OCBC analysts said in a note. 
    The region's stock markets were mixed, with shares in
Indonesia shedding 0.7%, while Taiwan stocks
added 0.3%
    Thai stocks rose 0.3%, even as the country's central
bank governor said Thailand's important tourism sector may take
longer to normalise.
    Shares in South Korea extended losses to a third
session, after the country reported a record high 3,292 new
COVID-19 cases.
    
    HIGHLIGHTS:
    **Malaysia's 10-year benchmark yield is up 0.4 basis points
at 3.581%
    **Singapore's 5-year benchmark yield is down 2.1 basis
points at 1.428%
    **Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are up 1.3 basis
points at 6.194%
  Asia stock indexes and                             
 currencies at   0425 GMT                       
 COUNTRY  FX RIC        FX     FX  INDE  STOCK  STOCK
                     DAILY  YTD %     X      S  S YTD
                         %               DAILY      %
                                             %  
 Japan               +0.02  -9.48  <.N2  -0.79  7.32
                                   25>          
 China                           EC>          
 India               +0.00  -1.62  <.NS  -0.20  27.76
                                   EI>          
 Indones             +0.09  -1.31  <.JK  -0.68  10.89
 ia                                SE>          
 Malaysi             -0.06  -3.82  <.KL  -0.24  -6.50
 a                                 SE>          
 Philipp             +0.16  -4.46  <.PS  -0.51   2.42
 ines                              I>           
 S.Korea                         11>          
 Singapo             -0.05  -2.60  <.ST   0.05  13.73
 re                                I>           
 Taiwan              +0.09  +2.49  <.TW   0.33  20.97
                                   II>          
 Thailan             +0.31  -8.13  <.SE   0.17  13.66
 d                                 TI>          
 
 (Reporting by Arundhati Dutta in Bengaluru; Editing by Ana
Nicolaci da Costa)
  
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