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EMERGING MARKETS-Taiwan leads gains among Asian shares, most Asian currencies edge higher

    * Philippine stocks snap 3-day rally
    * Malaysia reports record spike in COVID-19 cases
    * Thai stocks up for 3rd day

    By Arundhati Dutta
    May 28 (Reuters) - Taiwan led Asia's emerging equity markets
higher on Friday, as investors cheered more U.S. economic data
pointing toward a strong recovery, while the region's currencies
held onto gains ahead of inflation data.
    The Taiwan dollar and the South Korean won
 led gains against the greenback, even as the dollar
and U.S. bond yields rose after a report that President Joe
Biden will announce on Friday a $6 trillion budget for 2022.
    "(Asia markets) follow optimism around U.S. economic data
boosting the recovery theme and may potentially spur some
catch-up growth in Asia ...they have been lagging in terms of
returns performance," said Yeap Jun Rong, a market strategist at
IG.
    On Thursday, data showed that the number of Americans filing
new claims for unemployment benefits dropped more than expected
last week.     
    "This (jobless data) denotes a healing labour market, " he
said, adding that unveiling of U.S .budget may also support
sentiment in Asia.
    U.S. inflation data due at 1230 GMT on Friday will also be a
big focus, as a high reading could fuel expectations of policy
tightening by the Federal Reserve sooner rather than later.
    Taiwanese stocks jumped 1.5%, hitting their highest
in over two weeks. 
    The island's first batch of 150,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses
out of more than 5 million ordered from Moderna Inc is
set to arrive on Friday.
    Thai stocks jumped 0.5%, extending gains to a third
session. The country said it planned additional measures to
retain jobs and boost domestic consumption, as it struggles with
a severe third wave of infections. 
    Singaporean stocks were up for a sixth session, while
Indonesian equities extended gains to a third day.
    However, Malaysian stocks dropped as much as 0.8%,
and was headed for its worst day in a week.
     The country is still grappling with high infections and on
Thursday reported 7,857 new coronavirus cases, the third
straight day of record infections and 59 deaths.
    "A complete nationwide lockdown cannot be ruled out, with
some state rulers urging the Federal government to do this, "
said Prakash Sakpal and Nicholas Mapa, analysts at brokerage
ING.
    Philippine shares slipped after a stellar three-day
rally that saw the benchmark add over 8%. 
    
    HIGHLIGHTS
    **Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are up 3 basis points
at 6.475%
    **Malaysia's 3-year benchmark yield is down 0.5 basis points
at 2.025%​​ 
    **Top losers in Malaysia are Maxis Bhd and Hong Leong
Financial Group 
    
  Asia stock indexes and currencies                       
 at   0332 GMT                                      
 COUNTRY   FX RIC          FX     FX  INDE  STOCKS  STOCKS
                      DAILY %  YTD %     X   DAILY   YTD %
                                                 %  
 Japan                  -0.11  -6.08  <.N2   1.97    6.26
                                      25>           
 China     <CNY=CFXS    +0.19  +2.46  <.SS    0.03    3.94
           >                          EC>           
 India                  +0.00  +0.65  <.NS    0.00    9.70
                                      EI>           
 Indonesi               -0.10  -1.82  <.JK    0.22   -2.08
 a                                    SE>           
 Malaysia               +0.00  -2.85  <.KL   -0.54   -2.57
                                      SE>           
 Philippi               +0.10  +0.31  <.PS   -0.49   -7.11
 nes                                  I>            
 S.Korea   <KRW=KFTC    +0.29  -2.57  <.KS    0.80   11.05
           >                          11>           
 Singapor               +0.02  -0.20  <.ST    0.73   12.10
 e                                    I>            
 Taiwan                 +0.35  +2.73  <.TW    1.53   14.41
                                      II>           
 Thailand               -0.03  -4.28  <.SE    0.47    9.74
                                      TI>           
 
    

 (Reporting by Arundhati Dutta in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim
Coghill)
  
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