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EMERGING MARKETS-Ringgit, won lead Asia's currencies higher as U.S. yields retreat

    * Philippine March inflation eases for the first time in
6-months 
    * Fed minutes for March meeting expected on Wednesday
    * RBI meeting on Wednesday

    April 6 (Reuters) - Asia's emerging currencies found some
respite on Tuesday as the dollar fell to near two-week low and
U.S. bond yields retreated, with South Korea's won and
Malaysia's ringgit leading gains in the region.
    Stock markets were more mixed, with shares in Taiwan
ending 1% higher following a market holiday on Monday, while
Malaysia and Singapore shares were down less than
half a percent.
    The dollar's losses come even as data showed a gauge of U.S.
services activity hit a record high in March and bumper non-farm
payrolls on Friday, raising questions as to how much further the
greenback and U.S. yields can go.
    "While the market was caught wrong-footed at the start of
the year, it is not as convincing to argue that dollar rates are
now overly low," Eugene Leow, a DBS rates strategist said in a
note. 
    "We are wary of frontloading Fed hikes; the Fed is unlikely
to hike before 2023, in our view."
    The dollar has risen sharply this year, enjoying its best
quarter in nearly three years, as the U.S. economy outperforms
the world thanks to a loose monetary policy, large fiscal
packages and an aggressive vaccination campaign. 
    All that has also helped raise the yield on 10-year
Treasuries to pre-pandemic levels, sapping appetite
for Asia's risk-sensitive assets. 
    The won strengthened 0.7%, and the ringgit
gained 0.3%.
   On Wednesday, the Fed will release the minutes of its March
meeting, though it will not include the recent strong data
points. 
    By midday, Indian shares climbed 0.6% following
sharp declines in the previous session, as the number of new
cases in the country dipped on Tuesday to nearly 97,000 compared
with more than 100,000 on Monday.
    Investors are awaiting the Reserve Bank of India's policy
meeting on Wednesday, where the focus will be on commentary as
rates are expected to remain unchanged.
    "We think the RBI will be open-ended on its accommodative
stance, with comments highlighting that it will be maintained
until recovery can be self-sustaining," TD Securities said in a
client note. 
    "Anything more hawkish could hurt the bond market at a
fragile time."
    In the Philippines, shares climbed 1.5% and the peso
 edged higher. 
    Inflation eased for the first time in six months in March,
though it remained above the central bank's target range for the
year and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas' Governor said current
monetary policy settings remained appropriate.
    Thai markets were closed for a public holiday. 
    
    HIGHLIGHTS:
    ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields rose 5.2 basis points
to 6.669%
    ** In the Philippines, Universal Robina Corp and
Ayala Corp led gains   
    ** China's services sector recovery accelerates in March
    
  Asia stock indexes and currencies at   0633 GMT
 COUNTRY      FX RIC       FX       FX     INDEX    STOCKS   STOCKS
                           DAILY %  YTD %           DAILY %  YTD %
 Japan                     -0.07    -6.36           -1.30    8.21
 China                     +0.26    -0.34           -0.08    0.25
 India                     -0.02    -0.32           0.57     5.29
 Indonesia                 +0.07    -3.17           0.50     0.35
 Malaysia                  +0.31    -2.59           -0.34    -2.98
 Philippines               +0.09    -1.06           1.46     -7.70
 S.Korea                   +0.72    -2.98           0.20     8.83
 Singapore                 +0.14    -1.40           -0.36    12.46
 Taiwan                    +0.20    +0.03           1.02     13.63
 Thailand                  -        -4.56           -        8.99
 
 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan and Sameer Manekar in
Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill and Amy Caren Daniel)
  
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