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EMERGING MARKETS-Taiwan, Philippine lead Asia share declines as U.S. yields push higher

    * Rupiah set for 5th week of losses
    * Taiwan, Indonesia central banks stand pat on interest
rates
    * U.S.-China first high-level talks going on

    March 19 (Reuters) - Stock markets in Taiwan, the
Philippines and China fell around 1% on Friday following a spike
in U.S. bond yields that continues to sap appetite for Asia's
emerging stock and currency markets.
    Indonesia's rupiah and Taiwan's dollar both
fell around half a percent against a firmer greenback
after their respective central banks left interest rates
unchanged on Thursday. The Korean won led the way
among Asia's currencies, though, shedding 0.7%.
    "Despite short-lived positive mood changers like this week's
FOMC meeting, the medium-term thinking around higher U.S. yields
is holding local currency bulls at bay," said Stephen Innes,
chief global markets strategist at Axi.
    Yields on 10-year U.S. Treasuries now stand
above 1.7%, the highest they have been since January last year,
and are set for a seventh straight week of increases. Investors
are still digesting the Federal Reserve's pledge to keep rates
near zero out to 2024 even as it lifted forecasts for economic
growth and inflation.
    So far "in March, most Asian spot exchange rates that we
track have depreciated past their 50- and 100-day moving
averages," DBS analysts said. 
    The rupiah - set for a fifth week of losses - has fallen
nearly 4% since Feb. 16 as rising U.S. bond yields spark global
volatility and capital outflows. It was 0.4% lower on Friday.
    The head of Bank Indonesia's monetary management told CNBC
Indonesia on Friday that the central bank stands ready to guard
against volatility in the rupiah.
    It follows Bank Indonesia's decision to keep its key
interest rate unchanged at a record low of 3.50%, having cut six
times since the start of the pandemic, and its pledge to
strengthen currency intervention.
    "We expect the central bank to remain on hold in the near
term despite inflation falling below the Bank's 2%-4% target, as
the currency is expected to remain pressured," said Nicholas
Mapa, a senior economist at ING.
    In a similar move, Taiwan's central bank stood pat on
interest rates, as expected, while raising the export-reliant
island's economic growth forecast for the year.
    The local dollar fell 0.6%, while stocks lost 1.5%. 
    Investors will also be watching the first high-level, in
person talks between U.S. and Chinese officials since Joe Biden
took over as president. The world's two largest economies have
already levelled sharp rebukes over each other's stance on key
issues.
    DBS analysts are paying close attention to the yuan
, which they say is only 0.5% above its 100-day moving
average and a close above 6.50 a dollar this week would support
their call for it to depreciate beyond 6.60 by mid-year.
    The yuan was trading around 6.51, dipping 0.1%, on Friday. 
            
    HIGHLIGHTS:
    ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields up 7.3 basis points
to 6.825%
    ** Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc and Security Bank
Corp led losses in the Philippines 
    ** Philippines approves emergency use of Russia's Sputnik V
vaccine as COVID-19 cases spike   
  Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0342 GMT
 COUNTRY      FX RIC      FX       FX     INDEX    STOCKS   STOCKS
                          DAILY %  YTD %           DAILY %  YTD %
 Japan                    -0.11    -5.28           -0.87    9.15
 China                    -0.10    +0.24           -1.03    -1.31
 India                    +0.00    +0.74           0.00     4.12
 Indonesia                -0.35    -2.77           -0.24    5.92
 Malaysia                 -0.15    -2.31           -0.20    -0.15
 Philippines              +0.04    -1.30           -1.02    -8.08
 S.Korea                  -0.72    -4.04           -0.91    5.73
 Singapore                -0.02    -1.70           0.10     10.44
 Taiwan                   -0.57    +0.05           -1.49    8.91
 Thailand                 -0.19    -2.98           -0.23    7.99
 
 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan and Nikhil Subba in
Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin)
  
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