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EMERGING MARKETS-Asian FX, stocks upbeat in new year on vaccine-led recovery hopes

    * Indonesian rupiah at over 6-mth high
    * Chinese yuan jumps 1%
    * Glove makers drag Malaysia shares
    * Thailand reports record rise in coronavirus cases

    By Anushka Trivedi
    Jan 4 (Reuters) - Currencies of emerging Asian markets began
the new year on a firm note, while most stock markets also rose
on Monday as investors put their faith in coronavirus vaccines
to spur economic recovery.
    A flurry of robust manufacturing data across the region that
pointed to a stabilisation in economic activity also fuelled
risk sentiment, helping the MSCI's broadest index of
Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan hit an
all-time peak.

    The greenback fell during the Asian trading session,
buoying the Taiwanese dollar 1.5%, while the Malaysian
ringgit and the South Korean won advanced
0.6% and 0.3%, respectively.
    Regional markets also took heart from the Chinese yuan
 surging 1% to smash past the key 6.5 per dollar mark,
with the currency's gains expected to accelerate further.  

    "The weaker U.S. dollar is set to be a prolonged theme in
2021," said Han Tan, market analyst at FXTM, adding that
emerging-market currencies would stay supported in that case,
with optimism over vaccine rollouts adding to gains.
    Meanwhile, the rupiah firmed 1.3% to a more than
six-month high, where as Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields
 were down about 17.30 basis points at 5.925%. Yields
fall when prices rise.
    After concerns over the central bank's autonomy in Jakarta,
positive vaccine developments toward the end of 2020 helped the
rupiah recoup most of its losses as investors were lured by
Indonesia's high-yielding debt amid a weak dollar.
    "The rupiah may continue its outperformance... the global
hunt for yields should drive more inflows into its bond markets
which would be a major supportive element for the Indonesian
currency," Tan added.
    A broadly optimistic tone and a subdued dollar also lifted
regional equities, with South Korea's KOSPI touching a
record high, meanwhile Indonesia, Philippines and
Taiwan shares all firmed around 1%.
    However, the heavyweight glove makers that had benefited
during the early months of the pandemic dragged the Malaysian
bourse and Thai shares slipped 0.4% as the
government mulled more restrictions amid a record rise in
coronavirus infections.
    HIGHLIGHTS
    
    ** The Singapore dollar notches a near 3-year high
after Q4 GDP contracts slightly less than expected
    ** Top losers on Malaysia Index are glove makers
Hartalega Holdings Bhd down 13.7%, Top Glove Corp
 down 10.5% & Supermax Corp down 6.7%
    ** In the Philippines, top index gainers are San Miguel Corp
 up 4.6% and Bloomberry Resorts Corp up 2.8%

  Asia stock indexes and currencies                                                     
 at   0556 GMT                                                              
 COUNTRY       FX RIC      FX DAILY %   FX YTD %     INDEX  STOCKS DAILY %  STOCKS YTD %
 Japan                          +0.18      +0.22                     -0.85         -0.85
 China                          +0.99      +0.99                      0.66          0.66
 India                          +0.22      +0.14                     -0.11          0.15
 Indonesia                      +1.26      +1.26                      1.00          1.00
 Malaysia                       +0.63      +0.63                     -1.63         -1.63
 Philippines                    +0.08      +0.08                      0.81          0.81
 S.Korea                        +0.31      +0.30                      2.37          2.37
 Singapore                      +0.33      +0.27                      0.17          0.17
 Taiwan                         +1.49      +1.40                      1.15          1.15
 Thailand                       +0.13      +0.20                     -0.37         -0.37
 
 (Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh
Kuber)
  
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