EMERGING MARKETS-Recovery hopes buoy Asian shares at end of tumultuous week

    * China's economy expected to expand by 8.1% in 2021- World
    * IMF upgrades South Korea's 2021 growth forecast to 3.6% 
    * Indonesia eyes its biggest weekly fall in seven

    By Shruti Sonal
    March 26 (Reuters) - Shares in Asia's emerging markets
gained on Friday on hopes of an economic recovery, in a week
marred by coronavirus resurgence fears, rising Sino-U.S.
tensions and the lira's slump.
    MSCI's ex-Japan Asia index rose 1.5% after
hitting a near three-month low on Thursday. The Shanghai
Composite Index gained 1.5%, snapping a three-day losing
    In tandem with the broader gains, stocks in Taiwan,
India, Indonesia and South Korea climbed
nearly 1%. 
    India was set for a second-straight weekly fall, while
Indonesia eyed its biggest weekly fall in seven. South Korea,
meanwhile, eked out a gain of 0.049% over the week. 
    Boosting recovery hopes, U.S. Labor Department data showed
the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment
benefits dropped to a one-year low last week, while new World
Bank forecasts show China's economy is set to expand by 8.1%
this year.
    The International Monetary Fund 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.
    Escalating tensions between the United States and Beijing —
both key trading partners of countries in the region — showed no
signs of easing. 
    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.
    With only three trading days left in March, Philippine and
Indian shares were set to underperform regional peers for the
    Indian shares bounced back on Friday after shedding
about 3% in the last two sessions, but fears of an economic
fallout remained as coronavirus cases surged. 
    Mizuho Bank analysts said the latest wave will smudge
recovery prospects but will not derail it given the absence of
any stringent lockdowns.
     The Philippine central bank will unwind accommodative
policy measures in a timely manner, its governor said, a day
after the bank kept interest rates steady. 
    Regional currencies were mixed as the U.S. dollar traded
near multi-month highs. China's yuan inched up as Beijing vowed
continued support for its economy. 
    The South Korean won, Singapore dollar and
the Indian rupee added between 0.2% and 0.4%, while the
Thai baht and Indonesian rupiah weakened. 
  Asia stock indexes and                              
 currencies at   0742 GMT                        
                     DAILY  YTD %     X   DAILY  S YTD
                         %                    %      %
 Japan               -0.06  -5.49  <.N2   1.56   6.31
 China    <CNY=CFX   +0.08  -0.21  <.SS    1.63  -1.58
          S>                       EC>           
 India               +0.29  +0.90  <.NS    1.65   4.15
 Indones             +0.00  -2.64  <.JK    1.05   3.48
 ia                                SE>           
 Malaysi             +0.02  -2.97  <.KL    0.08  -1.74
 a                                 SE>           
 Philipp             +0.10  -0.97  <.PS   -0.55  -8.33
 ines                              I>            
 S.Korea  <KRW=KFT   +0.35  -3.82  <.KS    1.09   5.83
          C>                       11>           
 Singapo             +0.22  -1.86  <.ST    0.70  11.25
 re                                I>            
 Taiwan              +0.03  -0.41  <.TW    1.53  10.68
 Thailan             -0.06  -3.70  <.SE    0.48   8.92
 d                                 TI>           

 (Reporting by Shruti Sonal in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren