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EMERGING MARKETS-Currencies subdued as investors await new Fed toolbox

    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
    * Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks tmsnrt.rs/3f2vwbA
    * Sino-U.S. tensions keep Asian shares muted
    * S. Korean shares down on GDP forecast cut

    By Shriya Ramakrishnan
    Aug 27 (Reuters) - Asian currencies struggled on Thursday as
investors looked to a key speech by Federal Reserve Chairman
Jerome Powell for hints on inflation and monetary policy, while
Sino-U.S. tensions kept a lid on gains for stock markets.
    Investors have largely priced in a dovish message from
Powell when he opens the Kansas City Fed's annual economic
policy conference later in the day, the question is whether any
adjustments he may make to its policy toolbox will be enough to
flatten U.S. market interest rates further. 
    "Given the overwhelming likelihood of Fed staying dovish for
a long time to come, I wouldn't read much into the recent
struggle for Asia currencies to make headway against USD – all
it needs is a reinforcement of Powell and Fed of their dovish
stance for the USD sell off theme to sustain," said Mahesh
Sethuraman, deputy head of global sales trading at Saxo Capital
Markets. 
    The Indonesian rupiah, Malaysian ringgit and
Philippines peso were all flat to marginally lower
against the dollar, but the Thai baht edged up 0.2% and
the Taiwan dollar was again the top gainer, up 0.6%. 
    South Korea's won also held in positive territory
as its central bank kept policy rates at a record low 0.50%, in
a widely expected move after delivering 75 basis points of rate
cuts so far this year.
    Shares in Seoul's export-focused KOSPI, however,
were set to snap a four-day winning streak as the Bank of Korea
cut its 2020 forecast for gross domestic product for an economy
now battling its worst COVID-19 outbreak since early March.
    Stock markets across Asia lagged a tech-driven rally on Wall
Street overnight after Washington blacklisted 24 Chinese
companies it said were part of construction and military action
in the South China Sea.
    Shares in Singapore were down about 0.5%, while
Philippine and Thai stocks posted marginal gains.
    
    HIGHLIGHTS:
    ** Thailand's 10-year government bond yields are
down 2.5 basis points at 1.395%
    ** Top losers on the Singapore STI include Mapletree
Commercial Trust down 3.03% at S$1.92; Singapore
Airlines Ltd down 2.13% at S$3.68; Dairy Farm
International Holdings Ltd down 2.07% at S$4.26
    ** Top gainers on the Thailand's SETI include
Asiasoft Corporation PCL up 13.76% at 4.96 baht, Thai
Film Industries PCL up 12.5% at 0.09 baht, TKrungthai
Industries PCL up ​ 11.43% at 1.17 baht
   
  Asia stock indexes and                                     
 currencies at   0411 GMT                              
 COUNTRY   FX RIC          FX     FX     INDEX  STOCK  STOCKS
                      DAILY %  YTD %                S   YTD %
                                                DAILY  
                                                    %  
 Japan                  -0.01  +2.47            -0.27   -1.82
 China     <CNY=CFXS    +0.04  +1.17             0.29    9.48
           >                                           
 India                   0.00  -3.92             0.56   -4.56
 Indonesi               -0.14  -5.51            -0.12  -15.33
 a                                                     
 Malaysia               -0.07  -1.92             0.21   -2.26
 Philippi               -0.10  +4.11             0.20  -23.95
 nes                                                   
 S.Korea   <KRW=KFTC    +0.08  -2.49            -0.60    7.16
           >                                           
 Singapor               +0.00  -1.55            -0.53  -21.54
 e                                                     
 Taiwan                 +0.56  +2.57             0.07    7.04
 Thailand               +0.22  -4.32             0.27  -16.06
 


 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by
Patrick Graham and William Mallard)
  
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