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EMERGING MARKETS-Thai baht jumps nearly 1%; most Asian currencies, stocks mixed

    * Singapore dollar, Indian rupee, Thai baht set to firm over
the
week
    * Singapore March NODX up 12.1% from last year
    * China posts record GDP growth in Q1
    * Indonesian c.bank seen holding rates - Reuters poll

    By Sameer Manekar
    April 16 (Reuters) - The Thai baht firmed almost 1% on
Friday, resuming trade after a three-day break, while most other
emerging Asian currencies and share markets were largely mixed
as investors took stock of economic data from the United States
and China.
    The Thai currency hit a two-week high after the
dollar weakened, although it could face some pressure in the
near term as new COVID-19 cases in Thailand see a record jump.

    "Even if the U.S. dollar remains sideways or slightly
weaker, Thai baht could weaken further due to the worsening
COVID-19 situation which is likely to lead to more stringent
lockdown measures," said Poon Panichpibool, markets strategist
at Krung Thai Bank.
    Thailand, along with Taiwan, also risks being labelled a
currency manipulator as part of a foreign exchange report from
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen expected this week.

    In Russia, government bonds recouped some losses as
investors considered news of U.S. sanctions targeting the
country's sovereign debt. The rouble strengthened as much
as a percent against the dollar after tumbling 1% on Thursday.

    The Indian rupee firmed 0.6% and was set to
appreciate slightly for the week, even as the country battles a
massive second wave of the novel coronavirus.
    "The second wave of COVID-19 is posing rising risks to the
recovery. While our base case is that growth rebounds to 9% in
FY22 from a slump of 6.4% in FY21, we see a 300 basis points
downside risk to this forecast," analysts at Bank of America
said.
    Many regional stock markets lagged global shares as upbeat
U.S. retail sales and manufacturing data, as well as record
first-quarter economic growth in China were offset by worries
over surging infections.
    Equities in the Philippines, Malaysia and
Indonesia slipped between 0.2% and 0.8%.
    Indonesia's rupiah firmed about 0.3% ahead of a
central bank policy meeting next week, where Bank Indonesia is
expected leave its key policy rate unchanged at a record low.

    In Singapore, the dollar was off 0.2% but on track to
firm about 0.5% for the week. Stocks scaled a more than
one-week peak after the city-state's non-oil domestic exports
(NODX) expanded 12.1% in March.
    "There is definitely an upside risk to our existing NODX
forecast of 2%, and are now looking at a 2%-4% forecast,
assuming that the global vaccine-aided recovery theme continues
to take root and blossom into the second-half," analysts at OCBC
Bank said.
    
    HIGHLIGHTS:    
    ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields fall 5.7 basis points
to 6.512%
    ** India reports record daily increase of COVID-19
infections on Friday
    ** Southeast Asia's largest bank DBS to phase out
thermal coal financing
    
  Asia stock indexes and                            
 currencies at   0703 GMT                      
 COUNTRY  FX RIC        FX    FX  INDE  STOCK  STOCK
                     DAILY   YTD     X      S  S YTD
                         %     %        DAILY      %
                                            %  
 Japan               -0.11  -5.1  <.N2  0.14   8.16
                               6  25>          
 China    <CNY=CFX   -0.10  +0.0  <.SS   0.79  -1.36
          S>                   1  EC>          
 India               +0.51  -1.9  <.NS   0.35   4.65
                               8  EI>          
 Indones             +0.21  -3.6  <.JK  -0.05   1.63
 ia                            4  SE>          
 Malaysi             -0.05  -2.5  <.KL  -0.23  -1.40
 a                             5  SE>          
 Philipp             +0.33  -0.6  <.PS  -0.69  -9.03
 ines                          4  I>           
 S.Korea  <KRW=KFT   +0.12  -2.7  <.KS   0.13  11.32
          C>                   0  11>          
 Singapo             -0.05  -1.0  <.ST   0.38  12.42
 re                            6  I>           
 Taiwan              +0.17  +0.5  <.TW   0.48  16.47
                               3  II>          
 Thailan             +0.67  -4.2  <.SE   0.19   6.53
 d                             2  TI>          
 
    

 (Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru
Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Uttaresh.V)
  
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