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EMERGING MARKETS-Asian stocks, currencies nudge higher as Fed rate hike threat eases

    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E
    * Dollar weakens after mixed U.S. jobs data
    * Baht underperform Asian FX
    * Indonesia stocks drop on COVID-19 woes

    By Anushka Trivedi
    July 5 (Reuters) - Most Asian stocks edged up on Monday,
showing signs of easing volatility after U.S. jobs data hinted
the recovery in the world's biggest economy was on track but
didn't yet need an immediate withdrawal of Federal Reserve
stimulus.
    The Fed's surprising hawkish tilt last month spooked Asian
markets with the prospect that the central bank's unwinding of
bond-buying programme and sooner-than-expected rate hikes could
lead to outflows from emerging markets.    
    Taiwan's bourse rose 1% while South Korea,
the Philippines and Singapore's equities made
modest gains of around 0.4% each.
    The greenback pulled back from three-month highs as
rate hikes bets ebbed, pressured by the weaker aspects of the
U.S. nonfarm payrolls report where the unemployment rate for
June rose, even as the number of jobs added beat forecast.

    Local currencies firmed in response, with the Indonesian
rupiah, South Korean won and Taiwan's dollar
 firming 0.3% to 0.6%.      
    "Overall, market sentiment starts this week on a more
positive footing," OCBC analysts said in a note, adding that a
more consistent outperformance on the labour front would be
needed to price in for Fed expectations. 
    "That may come through only towards the end of third-quarter
of 2021."
    Trading was thin as U.S. markets remain closed for the
extended 4th of July weekend. Investors now await the minutes of
Federal Open Markets Committee June meeting on Wednesday for
more clues on tapering.
    Pandemic-hit Indonesia's stocks dropped 0.5% after
posting its biggest daily jump in deaths from coronavirus,
fuelling doubts about the timeline of lifting of curbs in the
country.
    The Thai baht, which has shed almost 4% over the
past three-weeks, traded little changed. 
    JP Morgan analysts said they expected no big bets would be
made until there was more clarity on the success of the
country's "Phuket sandbox" initiative that allows free movement
on the island for fully vaccinated tourists.
    
    HIGHLIGHTS
    
    ** Indonesian 3-year benchmark yields are up around 3.6
basis points at 4.755%
    ** Top gainers on the Singapore STI include: Frasers
Logistics & Commercial Trust, up 2.1%, and CapitaLand
Integrated Commercial Trust, up 1.4%
    ** In the Philippines, top index gainers are DMCI Holdings
Inc, up 2.1%, and Aboitiz Power Corp, up 2.02% 
    
    
  Asia stock indexes and currencies at   0421 GMT                                         
 COUNTRY       FX RIC        FX DAILY %  FX YTD %     INDEX  STOCKS DAILY %   STOCKS YTD %
 Japan                            -0.08     -7.10                     -0.58           4.27
 China                            +0.15     +1.03                      0.16           1.47
 India                            +0.00     -2.24                      0.57          13.09
 Indonesia                        +0.33     -3.05                     -0.41           0.32
 Malaysia                         +0.18     -3.24                     -0.33          -6.08
 Philippines                      -0.39     -2.60                      0.21          -1.72
 S.Korea                          +0.45     -3.87                      0.43          14.70
 Singapore                        +0.04     -1.89                      0.28          10.33
 Taiwan                           +0.34     +2.10                      1.07          21.50
 Thailand                         +0.00     -6.96                      0.10           9.02
 

 (Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; Editing by Lincoln
Feast)
  
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