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EMERGING MARKETS-Philippine, Malaysian shares drop; U.S. data in focus

    * Manila stocks fall more than 1%
    * India's Nifty 50 hits a record high
    * Investors long on most Asian currencies - Reuters poll
    * Thai markets shut for holiday

    By Sameer Manekar
    June 3 (Reuters) - Stocks in the Philippines and Malaysia
led losses among calm emerging Asian markets on Thursday, while
Indian shares hit a record high ahead of a central bank meeting
this week.
    Moves in other regional stock markets were muted while
currencies traded flat as investors awaited crucial U.S.
economic data due on Friday for any signs of tightening of the
Federal Reserve's dovish policy.
    Prospects of U.S. economic recovery would further stir up
talk of the Fed scaling back support measures earlier than
expected, and that could unsettle Asia's risk-sensitive markets.

    As Asian countries reeled under the COVID-19 pandemic and
growing inflationary pressures, equities in May clocked their
biggest foreign outflows in more than a year. Data showed
foreigners sold $12.05 billion worth of equities in South Korea,
Taiwan, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and India
last month.
    The Philippine bourse lost as much as 1%, giving up
some ground after surging more than 3% in the previous session.
The peso was trading largely flat.
    India's Nifty 50 advanced up to 0.8% to a record
high, while the rupee was largely steady. The Reserve
Bank of India (RBI) is expected to keep interest rates at record
lows and reiterate its commitment on liquidity. 
    "As elevated inflation prevents the RBI from cutting policy
interest rates further, the targeted easing remains their
option," Prakash Sakpal, senior economist at Dutch-bank ING,
said in a note.
    However, without any recovery in business confidence it may
all be in vain, Sakpal added.
    In Malaysia, which is battling a resurgence in COVID-19
cases, shares fell about half a percent as the nation
recorded its highest daily death toll since the start of the
pandemic. 
    The country's finance minister warned that its 2021 economic
growth forecast could be lowered due to the new restrictions
imposed to curb the spread of the virus, and analysts say they
could weigh on debt instruments.
    In South Korea, shares ended 0.7% higher, marking
their fifth consecutive session of gains, while won
closed flat.
    A Reuters poll showed bullish bets on the Chinese yuan hit a
near six-month high, and investors were long on most Asian
currencies as vaccination programmes in the region painted an
optimistic picture despite a recent spike in infections.

    
    
    HIGHLIGHTS:    
    ** Indonesia's 10-year benchmark yields fall 3.2 basis
points to 6.417%
    ** India's services activity shrinks in May
    ** China's services activity growth slows in May -

    ** India signs deal with domestic vaccine maker for 300 mln
doses

    
  Asia stock indexes and currencies                           
 at   0634 GMT                                         
 COUNTRY  FX RIC          FX     FX    INDEX   STOCKS   STOCKS
                       DAILY  YTD %           DAILY %    YTD %
                           %                           
 Japan                 -0.24  -5.97             0.39    5.88
 China                 -0.17  +2.12             -0.12     3.45
 India                 -0.04  -0.07              0.56    12.03
 Indones               -0.21  -1.85              0.07     0.95
 ia                                                    
 Malaysi               +0.00  -2.50             -0.44    -2.24
 a                                                     
 Philipp               -0.10  +0.42             -0.73    -4.87
 ines                                                  
 S.Korea               -0.03  -2.46              0.72    13.01
 Singapo               -0.15  -0.25              0.12    11.29
 re                                                    
 Taiwan                +0.22  +2.98              0.47    17.06
 Thailan                0.00  -3.79              0.00    11.61
 d                                                     
 
    

 (Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon
Cameron-Moore and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
  
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