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EMERGING MARKETS-Asia currencies slip as focus turns to Fed

    * Rupiah falls for 3rd straight day
    * Singapore stocks hit lowest since June 4
    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E
    * Asian stock markets: tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4

    By Shashwat Awasthi
    June 16 (Reuters) - Most emerging Asian currencies weakened
slightly against the dollar on Wednesday, as markets awaited the
end of the U.S. Federal Reserve's two-day meeting which could
offer a clearer timeline for a shift from its ultra-loose
policy.
    The Indonesian rupiah and the Philippine peso
gave up about 0.2% each, while the Singapore dollar and
the Thai baht edged 0.1% lower against a steady dollar.
    Indications of when the Fed will start tapering its
bond-buying programme and raise interest rates will be key for
investors and regional central banks, as well as its comments
about quickening inflation which the Fed has called transitory.
    "A bit more clarity can't come soon enough," Frederic
Neumann, co-head of Asian economics research at HSBC, said of
the Fed's plan to eventually exit its current policy settings.
    "Central banks in Asia are certainly watching with a keen
eye. Once the road-map of the Fed's exit becomes clearer, and
initial market repercussions have been digested, it will open
the door for policy adjustments across the region."
    Regional central banks have kept interest rates at record
lows and maintained an accommodative policy stance this year as
waves of fresh coronavirus infections threaten to stymie a
sustained economic rebound.
    But while Bank Indonesia and Taiwan's central bank are
expected to leave rates unchanged this week, minutes of a May
policy meeting by the Bank of Korea showed a majority of its
board favoured reining back stimulus.

    Flows into Asian bonds, spurred recently by lower U.S.
Treasury yields and a weaker greenback, could also be pressured
by a steepening U.S. rates curve from the Fed's tapering,
according to strategists at Singapore's DBS bank.
    "Rates/bonds of countries that run current account deficits,
relatively more dependent on external funding, higher foreign
bond ownership and still reliant on central bank bond purchases
could see relatively more bear-steepening pressures," they said.
    Among regional stocks, Singapore's benchmark index
gave up gains made in the previous session and slid 0.8%.
    South Korea's KOSPI, however, hit an all-time high,
as foreigners were net buyers of shares on the main index.

    
    HIGHLIGHTS:
    ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are up
2.1 basis points at 6.439%.
    ** Top losers on the Singapore STI include Singapore
Airlines down 2%, CapitaLand Integrated Commercial
Trust down 1.9%, and Sembcorp Industries down 1.8%.
    ** Indonesia raised 10 trillion rupiah ($701.3 million) from
an Islamic bond auction on Tuesday.
    
    
   Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0324 GMT                                  
   COUNTRY      FX RIC    FX DAILY %   FX YTD %     INDEX   STOCKS DAILY %  STOCKS YTD %
    Japan                   -0.02        -6.22                  -0.32           6.93
    China                   +0.05        +1.94                  -0.51           1.88
    India                    0.00        -0.34                   0.00          13.50
  Indonesia                 -0.25        -1.54                   0.29           2.14
  Malaysia                  -0.06        -2.37                   0.13          -2.69
 Philippines                -0.20        -0.30                  -0.08          -2.36
   S.Korea                  -0.08        -2.84                   0.52          13.99
  Singapore                 -0.05        -0.50                  -0.77          10.79
   Taiwan                   +0.07        +3.07                  -0.07          17.83
  Thailand                  -0.10        -3.85                  -0.09          11.83
 
($1 = 14,260.0000 rupiah)

 (Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim
Coghill)
  
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