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EMERGING MARKETS-Focus on recovery rhetoric help most Asian shares rise

    * Chinese equities bounce back after 3 days of losses
    * IMF upgrades South Korea's 2021 growth forecast
    * Indian shares set for worst week in five

    By Shruti Sonal
    March 26 (Reuters) - Most emerging Asian share markets
climbed on Friday as investors focused on signs of economic
recovery, taking positive cues from a bounce back in Chinese
equities even as concerns from rising tensions between the West
and Beijing loomed.
    MSCI's ex-Japan Asia index rose 0.4% after
hitting a near three-month low on Thursday, while the Shanghai
Composite Index gained 0.8%, snapping a three-day losing
streak.
    In tandem with the broader gains, stocks in Taiwan,
India, Indonesia and South Korea climbed
nearly 1%. 
    China is expected to lead the recovery of East Asian and
Pacific economies this year, but many nations will record
sub-par growth as they struggle to emerge from the coronavirus
pandemic, according to new World Bank forecasts.
    Meanwhile, the IMF upgraded South Korea's 2021 growth
forecast to 3.6% from 3.1% previously, supported by a rebound in
tech exports and added fiscal stimulus.
    However, concerns remained over the broader outlook for
equities as a Reuters poll showed another bond market sell-off
is likely in the next three months following the recent rout in
financial markets.
    Worries about escalating tensions between the United States
and Beijing - both key trading partners of countries in the
region - also weighed on investor sentiment.
    U.S. President Joe Biden vowed on Thursday to push China to
play by international rules and said he would prevent China from
passing the United States to become the most powerful country in
the world.
    Indian shares bounced back after shedding about 3%
in last two sessions but were set for their worst week in five
as rising coronavirus cases threatened to prolong the economic
impact of the pandemic. 
    The country has put a temporary hold on all major exports of
the AstraZeneca coronavirus shot made by the Serum
Institute of India to meet domestic demand, two sources told
Reuters.
     Authorities ordered people indoors in some towns in western
India as the number of new coronavirus infections hit the
highest in five months on Thursday.
    Mizuho Bank analysts said the latest wave will smudge
recovery prospects but will not derail it given the absence of
any stringent lockdowns.
     On Thursday, the Philippine central bank joined its
regional peers in keeping key interest rates steady. 

    With only three trading days left in March, Philippine and
Indian shares were set to underperform regional peers. 
    Regional currencies were a mixed bag as the U.S. dollar
traded near multi-month highs, while China's yuan inched up on
as Beijing vowed continued support for its economy.
    The Singapore dollar and the Indian rupee
climbed about 0.2%, while Thai baht and Taiwan dollar
 weakened. 
    
    
  Asia stock indexes and currencies at                           
 0433 GMT                                                  
 COUNTRY       FX RIC          FX     FX    INDEX  STOCKS  STOCKS
                            DAILY  YTD %            DAILY   YTD %
                                %                       %  
 Japan                      -0.08  -5.51            1.54    6.29
 China                      +0.08  -0.22             1.37   -1.82
 India                      +0.17  +0.79             0.82    3.29
 Indonesia                  +0.00  -2.64             0.82    3.25
 Malaysia                   +0.00  -2.99             0.00   -1.81
 Philippines                -0.04  -1.11            -0.41   -8.21
 S.Korea                    +0.21  -3.95             0.91    5.65
 Singapore                  +0.13  -1.95             0.43   10.95
 Taiwan                     -0.14  -0.58             1.42   10.56
 Thailand                   -0.16  -3.79            -0.05    8.34
 
    
 (Editing by Lincoln Feast.)
  
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