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EMERGING MARKETS-Most Asian stocks eye weekly gains; Philippine lags on recovery worries

    * Asian stock markets: tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4
    * Philippine benchmark eyes worst week in six
    * Indonesia's trade surplus likely widened in Feb- poll

    By Shruti Sonal
    March 12 (Reuters) - Most emerging Asian stocks climbed on
Friday and were set for strong weekly gains as U.S. stimulus and
easing bond yields helped lift the mood, although Philippine
stocks struggled on concerns over the country's economic
recovery.
    Global markets received a boost after U.S. President Joe
Biden signed a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill into law and as a
dovish European Central Bank meeting triggered a retreat in bond
yields.
    The Jakarta benchmark added over 1% and was poised
for its sixth straight weekly gain, while Seoul closed
1.4% higher for its biggest weekly jump in five. India
and Singapore also eyed gains of over 2% for the week.
    A Reuters poll showed Indonesia's trade surplus likely
widened in February from a month earlier on the back of higher
commodity prices.
    Recovery concerns have weighed on Philippine equities
, which barely budged on Friday and were on track for
their biggest weekly drop since January. 
    The country, which has the second-highest number of COVID-19
cases and deaths in Southeast Asia, recorded its biggest daily
rise in COVID-19 cases in nearly six months on Thursday.

    Further denting sentiment, the country's trade deficit came
in at $2.42 billion in January, the widest in 12 months,
government data showed.
    "The ongoing slump in imports suggests that growth pains for
the Philippines will be around for some time," ING economist
Nicholas Mapa said.
    Tourism-reliant Thai shares fell 0.7% after the
country delayed the use of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine,
citing safety concerns following reports of blood clots in some
vaccinated people in Europe.
    Overall, regional currencies were mixed after U.S. dollar
climbed from a near one-week low as bond yields inched higher,
but looked set for its first weekly fall in three. 
    The Taiwan dollar, South Korean won and
the Indonesian rupiah gained between 0.2% and 0.3%. On
the other hand, the Thai baht and the Singapore dollar
 weakened 0.6% and 0.4% respectively. 
    
    Highlights:
    
    ** Thailand's 10-year government bond yields are up 11 basis
points at 1.8%
    ** Top gainers on the Jakarta stock index include
Zebra Nusantara Tbk PT, Sejahteraraya Anugrahjaya Tbk
PT, Royalindo Investa Wijaya PT 
    
    
  Asia stock indexes and                                
 currencies at   0742 GMT                         
 COUNTRY  FX RIC        FX     FX  INDEX  STOCKS  STOCKS
                     DAILY  YTD %          DAILY   YTD %
                         %                     %  
 Japan               -0.47  -5.28  <.N22   1.73    8.28
                                   5>             
 China    <CNY=CFX   -0.07  +0.45  <.SSE    0.47   -0.58
          S>                       C>             
 India               +0.23  +0.45  <.NSE    0.24    8.80
                                   I>             
 Indones             +0.17  -2.30  <.JKS    1.39    6.23
 ia                                E>             
 Malaysi             -0.19  -2.26  <.KLS   -0.73   -0.59
 a                                 E>             
 Philipp             +0.03  -0.93  <.PSI    0.14   -5.76
 ines                              >              
 S.Korea  <KRW=KFT   +0.19  -4.20  <.KS1    1.35    6.30
          C>                       1>             
 Singapo             -0.40  -1.78  <.STI   -0.35    8.83
 re                                >              
 Taiwan              +0.31  +1.17  <.TWI    0.47   10.34
                                   I>             
 Thailan             -0.55  -2.44  <.SET   -0.66    7.96
 d                                 I>             
 
    
 (Reporting by Shruti Sonal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil
D'Silva)
  
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