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EMERGING MARKETS-Taiwan shares surge nearly 5%, easing dollar supports Asian FX

    * Taiwan in talks with nations for COVID-19 vaccines
    * Worries in Indonesia of a surge in cases after holidays
    * Taiwan has plenty of fiscal firepower, expects measures -
analyst

    May 18 (Reuters) - Battered stocks markets in Taiwan and
Singapore jumped on Tuesday, shrugging off fears over the impact
of renewed coronavirus restrictions, while a weaker U.S. dollar
lent support to Asia's emerging currencies. 
    Taiwan recouped Monday's sharp loss, rising nearly 5% while
neighbouring Japan, suffering from its own spike in
cases and slow vaccination drive, jumped 2%. Stocks in South
Korea and Singapore were also up over 1%.
    While much of the Western world begins easing restrictions,
things are moving in the opposite direction for parts of Asia as
new outbreaks emerge and many struggle to boost vaccinations.
    Singapore and Taiwan, hailed for their past success to
taming the spread of COVID-19, tightened curbs recently, with
their stock markets sliding 4.3% and 10.4% in May as of Monday's
close.
    So far Singapore has been among the fastest in the region to
inoculate its population, while Capital Economics says "Taiwan
has plenty of fiscal firepower" and expects support measures to
be announced soon.
    "Consumer spending will suffer, but the rest of the economy
should still perform strongly," the economic research firm said
of Taiwan.
    The region's currencies, led by the Taiwan and
Singapore dollar, largely gained ahead of minutes on
Wednesday from the Federal Reserve's most recent meeting, which
may give clues about where monetary policy is headed this year.
    Comments by Dallas Fed Bank President that he did not expect
interest rates to rise until next year reassured markets that
the central bank would not tighten early, keeping the dollar
lower against most major currencies. 
    However, stocks markets in the developing economies of
Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines
were broadly lower as worries over the virus and its impact on
their economies remain.
    The rupiah dipped 0.1%, while benchmark 10-year bond
yields edged higher.
    Malaysia, which is under a national lockdown, reported its
deadliest day on Monday, while fears rise that mass gatherings
in Indonesia over Eid could trigger a surge of new cases.
      
    
    HIGHLIGHTS:
    ** Taiwan mobilises diplomats to seek out COVID-19 shots,
including from the U.S.
    ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields up 6 basis points to
6.464%
  Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0334 GMT
 COUNTRY      FX RIC      FX       FX     INDEX     STOCKS   STOCKS
                          DAILY %  YTD %            DAILY %  YTD %
 Japan                    +0.02    -5.43            2.08     3.49
 China                    +0.19    +1.57            0.11     1.39
 India                    +0.00    -0.20            0.00     6.73
 Indonesia                -0.17    -1.85            -0.38    -2.80
 Malaysia                 +0.08    -2.56            -0.09    -2.78
 Philippines              +0.02    +0.29            -0.90    -12.79
 S.Korea                  +0.20    -4.09            1.12     10.31
 Singapore                +0.23    -0.84            1.37     9.78
 Taiwan                   +0.16    +1.74            4.74     9.16
 Thailand                 -0.25    -4.92            0.76     7.70
 
 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam
Holmes)
  
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