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EMERGING MARKETS-Most Asian currencies strengthen as dollar holds soft tone

    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E
    * Taiwan's stock and bond markets closed until Feb. 16
    * Thailand, India, Indonesia gain more than 1% each
    * Gains in oil prices support energy firms 

    By Shruti Sonal
    Feb 8 (Reuters) - Most emerging Asian currencies
strengthened against the dollar on Monday as the greenback
nursed losses following disappointing U.S. jobs data, while
stocks climbed in subdued trade ahead of the Lunar New Year
holiday.
    The dollar index weakened against a basket of six
major currencies, after falling 0.6% on Friday, as data at the
end of last week showed the U.S. economy created fewer jobs than
expected in January.
    The Thai baht, South Korean won,
Indonesian rupiah and the Malaysian ringgit gained
between 0.1% and 0.5%.
    "Going forward, the dollar index will likely rebound along
with the rising 10-year U.S. treasury yield, considering the
U.S. economic recovery and U.S. President Joe Biden's $1.9
trillion coronavirus relief package, said Gao Qi, FX strategist
for EM Asia at Scotiabank.
    "Meanwhile, EM Asian currencies are expected to continue
benefiting from improving risk sentiment".
    "It means we could see the dollar's divergent performance
versus EM Asian currencies including the CNY, CNH and INR in the
coming weeks", he added. 
    The Taiwan dollar <, best performing currency in the
region so far this year, added over 1% despite the central
bank's attempts to crackdown on speculation of the currency. 
    Taiwan's central bank said on Sunday it had banned Deutsche
Bank from trading Taiwan dollar deliverable and
non-deliverable forwards and suspended it for two years from
trading forex derivatives.
    The currency is at its strongest in more than 23 years
against the U.S. dollar in a rally fuelled by rising global
demand for tech products of the island's trade-dependent
economy.
    Most shares in the region strengthened, tracking broader
gains in global equities, on hopes a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid
package will be passed by U.S. lawmakers soon.
    Thai, Indian and the Indonesian
benchmarks added over 1% each. Malaysia gained as much
as 0.5% after government data showed the country's industrial
production index rebounded in December after two months of
decline.
    Energy stocks across the region saw solid gains as Brent oil
futures neared $60 a barrel, boosted by supply cuts among key
producers and hopes for further U.S. economic stimulus measures
stoking demand.
    Thailand's PTT PCL and Malaysian heavyweight
Petronas Chemicals Group inched nearly 4% higher.
    However, trading volumes remained low ahead of the Lunar New
Year holiday in most markets. Taiwan's stock and bond markets
were closed starting Monday until Feb. 16, while Chinese
financial markets will be closed for a week starting Thursday.
    
    Highlights:
    
    ** Thailand's 10-year government bond yields are up 3 basis
points at 1.3%
    ** Top gainers on the Jakarta stock index include
Pool Advista Finance Tbk PT, Alfa Energi Investama Tbk
PT, Djasa Ubersakti Tbk PT
    
    
  Asia stock indexes and                                 
 currencies at   0526 GMT                          
 COUNTRY  FX RIC        FX  FX YTD  INDEX  STOCKS  STOCKS
                     DAILY       %          DAILY   YTD %
                         %                      %  
 Japan               -0.11   -2.12  <.N22   1.84    6.79
                                    5>             
 China    <CNY=CFX   +0.13   +1.09  <.SSE    0.95    1.62
          S>                        C>             
 India               +0.09   +0.28  <.NSE    1.28    8.11
                                    I>             
 Indones             +0.14   +0.29  <.JKS    0.96    3.88
 ia                                 E>             
 Malaysi             +0.22   -0.96  <.KLS    0.12   -2.87
 a                                  E>             
 Philipp             +0.01   -0.05  <.PSI    0.08   -1.61
 ines                               >              
 S.Korea  <KRW=KFT   +0.38   -2.97  <.KS1   -0.49    8.07
          C>                        1>             
 Singapo             +0.08   -0.92  <.STI    0.79    3.03
 re                                 >              
 Taiwan              +1.42   +1.75  <.TWI    0.61    7.26
                                    I>             
 Thailan             +0.13   -0.20  <.SET    1.16    4.46
 d                                  I>             
 
 (Reporting by Shruti Sonal in Bengaluru; Editing by Jacqueline
Wong)
  
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