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EMERGING MARKETS-S. Korea's won, Taiwan dlr lead Asian currency gains with focus on U.S. data

    * Malaysia, Philippine stocks dip on COVID-19 risks
    * Two Fed officials speak Tuesday, U.S. payrolls on Friday
    * Goldman Sachs cuts India Q2 GDP forecast after local curbs

    By Nikhil Nainan
    June 1 (Reuters) - South Korea's won and Taiwan's dollar
gained further ground on a broadly weaker greenback on Tuesday,
leading Asia's other emerging currencies higher as investors
look to upcoming U.S. data and speeches for clues on the Federal
Reserve's thinking.
    Asia's stock markets also largely kicked off June on a
positive note, though Malaysian and Philippine
equities dipped as the pandemic continues to dominate government
policies. 
    Markets reopen in the United States later in the global day
after a long weekend, offering direction to investors in Asia
who will be eyeing speeches by Fed officials. The main event
this week will be U.S. non-farm payrolls on Friday after the
much-weaker-than-expected reading a month ago. 
    So far, Asia risk-sensitive markets have held firm by
consistent messaging from the Fed that price pressures are
expected to be transitory and monetary policy will remain dovish
for some time, though the strong U.S. recovery is causing some
to worry how long that may last.
    Mizuho bank, in a client note, said a weaker dollar sits
“precariously" against an outperforming U.S. recovery, which
could “suddenly” lead to talk of tapering and shifts in monetary
policy. 
    The won gained half a percent, while the Taiwan
dollar strengthened 0.3%, leading marginal gains
elsewhere. 
    Taiwan itself is grappling with an outbreak of COVID-19 that
has forced restrictions across the island, but officials have so
far allayed concerns that its export-focussed semi-conductor
industry will be hit. 
    The island's parliament on Monday approved an extra $15.20
billion in stimulus spending to help the economy deal with the
pandemic.
    Worries around pandemic have been the theme across Asia over
the 1-1/2 months, as spikes in infections and the emergence of 
more infectious variants and largely slow vaccination programs
underscored th contrast between the economic recovery in East
and West. 
    Malaysia entered a two-week strict lockdown on Tuesday,
while the Philippines prolonged partial coronavirus curbs in the
capital and nearby provinces until mid-June, despite cases
falling.
    Stock markets in both countries are underperforming their
regional peers, with the Philippines down around 7% so far this
year and Malaysia down nearly 3%. 
    Equities in India, despite a devastating second-wave that
ripped through the country through April and May, are among the
region's best performers.  
    India's economic growth picked up in the first three months
of the year, but economists are increasingly pessimistic about
this quarter as much of the country is still under local
restrictions.
    Goldman Sachs lowered its second quarter forecast for India
again, now expecting an annualised contraction of 27.6%,
bringing expected growth down to 9.9% for the 2022 financial
year from an earlier forecast of 11.1%.
    In China, the yuan was flat after the central
bank on Monday directed financial institutions to hold more
foreign exchange in reserve, a move that analysts say could help
temper a rally in the currency. Stocks were also
slightly lower.
    Indonesian markets were closed for a public holiday.
    
    HIGHLIGHTS:
    ** Malaysia to roll out $9.7 bln more in stimulus as virus
spreads
    ** Southeast Asia's coronavirus surge prompts shutdowns and
alarm
    ** Asia's factories sustain expansion, supply chain woes
cloud outlook
    ** Monde Nissin debuts 0.14% lower after $1 bln Philippine
IPO
  Asia stock indexes and currencies at   0347 GMT
 COUNTRY      FX RIC      FX       FX     INDEX    STOCKS   STOCKS
                          DAILY %  YTD %           DAILY %  YTD %
 Japan                    +0.08    -5.67           -0.58    4.55
 China                    +0.01    +2.48           -0.11    3.98
 India                    +0.00    +0.63           0.00     11.45
 Indonesia                -        -1.65           -        -0.53
 Malaysia                 +0.10    -2.38           -0.14    -2.82
 Philippines              -0.03    +0.76           -0.18    -7.33
 S.Korea                  +0.51    -1.73           0.55     12.11
 Singapore                +0.16    +0.14           0.09     11.37
 Taiwan                   +0.26    +3.26           0.26     16.16
 Thailand                 +0.16    -3.91           0.76     10.79
    

 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by
Simon Cameron-Moore)
  
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