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EMERGING MARKETS-Eyeing Powell, Yellen comments, most Asian shares move cautiously up

    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E
    * Eyes on Powell, Yellen comments
    * Philippine shares recover after 2 days of losses
    * Singapore inflation data due later in the day

    By Shruti Sonal
    March 23 (Reuters) - Most emerging Asian stocks inched
higher on Tuesday, tracking the risk appetite recovery on Wall
Street as bond yields pulled back, even as investors avoided
making big bets ahead of testimony by top U.S. policymakers
later in the day.
    The market's immediate focus remained on the Congressional
testimony by U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, expecting comments on the rise
of bond yields.
    Yellen is likely to paint an optimistic picture for the U.S.
economy as it emerges from the pandemic, telling U.S. lawmakers
that she sees both growth and possibly full employment next
year. 
    Movements, however, were range-bound, as investors kept a
close eye on rising COVID-19 cases in Europe, with lockdowns
being reintroduced in Italy, France and Germany. 
    The Philippine benchmark, which has shed nearly 4% in
last two sessions, climbed 0.5% in a move attributed by analysts
to bargain hunting.
    The property sector is also helping drive the bounce, with
investors reportedly encouraged by repeated pushback from
authorities about hard lockdowns, said ING economist Nicholas
Mapa. 
    The country's central bank is expected to leave its
benchmark interest rate unchanged on Thursday, a Reuters poll
showed.
    Singapore bourse added 0.2%, ahead of the release of
data likely showing an uptick in February CPI inflation figures.
    "The figures will reveal the impact of the 21% hike in the
petrol duty announced in the FY2021 Budget", wrote ING analyst
Prakash Sakpal. "In addition, the seasonal increase in demand
during the Chinese New Year holiday will pressure inflation
higher."
    Boosting the benchmark, shares of Singapore's largest
developer CapitaLand rose as much as 21% in morning
trade after the company unveiled a major business restructuring
plan, under which it plans to split in two.
    Taiwan's benchmark gained 0.2% and the Taiwan dollar
 strengthened after the country's February export orders
rose more than expected for the 12th month in a row to a record
high on Monday.
    Elsewhere, the currencies presented a mixed front as the
U.S. dollar hovered below recent highs. The Philippine peso
 and Thai baht weakened 0.2% and 0.1%
respectively against the dollar. On the other hand, the South
Korean won added 0.1%.
    
    Highlights:
    
    ** Top losers on FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kl Index
include Genting Bhd; Genting Malaysia Bhd;
Dialog Group Bhd
    ** Thailand's 10-year government bond yields are down 4.5
basis points at 1.725%
    
  Asia stock indexes and                                   
 currencies at   0413 GMT                           
 COUNTRY  FX RIC        FX     FX    INDEX  STOCKS   STOCKS
                     DAILY  YTD %            DAILY    YTD %
                         %                       %  
 Japan               +0.11  -5.03           -0.10    6.19
 China    <CNY=CFX   -0.03  +0.28            -1.19    -2.03
          S>                                        
 India               +0.00  +0.97             0.66     6.09
 Indones             -0.03  -2.53            -0.19     5.19
 ia                                                 
 Malaysi             -0.02  -2.26            -0.69    -1.33
 a                                                  
 Philipp             -0.13  -1.16             0.45   -10.02
 ines                                               
 S.Korea  <KRW=KFT   +0.12  -3.63            -0.26     5.36
          C>                                        
 Singapo             -0.01  -1.46             0.24    10.26
 re                                                 
 Taiwan              +0.07  +0.04             0.20    10.11
 Thailan             -0.13  -3.20             0.07     8.15
 d                                                  
 
     
    

 (Reporting by Shruti Sonal in Bengaluru. Editing by Gerry
Doyle)
  
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