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EMERGING MARKETS-Asian FX gain on weaker dollar, Indian shares gain on ICICI Bank boost

    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E
    * Asian stock markets: tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4
    * Asian currencies strengthen on weaker U.S dollar
    * Indian shares climb after ICICI Bank posts strong results
    * Investors look ahead to Fed meeting later this week

    By Harish Sridharan
    April 26 (Reuters) - Asian currencies gained on Monday as
the dollar weakened on bets the U.S. Federal Reserve will retain
an accommodative monetary policy at its meeting later this week,
while Indian shares were boosted by robust results from a major
lender.
    The greenback slipped to a two-month low amid speculation
U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will shun talk of
tapering bond purchases at a policy meeting on Wednesday.
    "The Fed has stated that it will maintain its accommodative
monetary policy stance for some time, providing these countries
(EM Asia) with some breathing space in terms of further policy
easing. The Federal Open Market Committee meeting this week will
provide more colour on the subject," analysts at Mizuho said in
a note. 
    Indian shares traded 1.3% firmer after a lacklustre
performance last week, with sentiment boosted by a 6.2% jump in
shares of private-sector lender ICICI Bank, which
reported a more than three-fold surge in March-quarter profit.
    The results helped offset otherwise weak sentiment in the
region, as the country set a global record for a rise in daily
COVID-19 cases for a fifth consecutive day, amid severely
strained healthcare facilities and widespread curbs on
activities.
    Singapore's manufacturing output for March increased 7.6%
from last year, but fell 1.7% against the prior month and missed
an estimate of 2.2% growth. Shares and the Singapore
dollar were largely unchanged after the announcement.
    A strong lead from Wall Street overnight boosted broader
equities in Southeast Asia, with shares in Malaysia
gaining and Taiwan scaling yet more record highs.  
    Thai stocks lagged peers, after the country's
central bank on Sunday warned it is likely to slash its economic
growth outlook for this year and next due to a rapidly spreading
third wave of COVID-19 infections.
    "Overall sentiment looks bearish on the domestic front amid
growing worries over the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic,"
analysts at Philip Research (Thailand) said in a note. 
    Elsewhere, the Turkish lira dipped in early trading to near
an all-time low as a chill settled on relations with the United
States and after the country's new central bank chief signalled
rate hikes would harm the economy.
   
Highlights
 
    ** Top gainer on the Taiwan SE Weighted Index was Space
Shuttle Hi-Tech Co Ltd, up 10.0%
    ** Top gainer on FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kl Index was
Supermax Corporation Bhd, up 5.04%
    ** The biggest gainers in the NSE index were ICICI Bank Ltd
 and State Bank of India, up 4.96% and 2.96%,
respectively

  Asia stock indexes and                              
 currencies at   0509 GMT                        
 COUNTRY  FX RIC        FX     FX  INDE  STOCKS  STOCK
                     DAILY  YTD %     X   DAILY  S YTD
                         %                    %      %
 Japan               +0.19  -4.14  <.N2  #VALUE  #VALU
                                   25>     !      E!
 China    <CNY=CFX   +0.12  +0.61  <.SS    0.19   0.22
          S>                       EC>           
 India               +0.27  -2.33  <.NS    1.33   3.93
                                   EI>           
 Indones             +0.17  -3.14  <.JK   -0.60   0.03
 ia                                SE>           
 Malaysi             +0.15  -1.98  <.KL    0.47  -0.69
 a                                 SE>           
 Philipp             -0.21  -0.66  <.PS    0.18  -10.5
 ines                              I>                1
 S.Korea  <KRW=KFT   +0.40  -2.44  <.KS    0.66  11.61
          C>                       11>           
 Singapo             +0.08  -0.34  <.ST    0.08  12.40
 re                                I>            
 Taiwan              +0.54  +1.87  <.TW    1.39  19.06
                                   II>           
 Thailan             -0.03  -4.68  <.SE    0.14   7.34
 d                                 TI>           
 

 (Reporting by Harish Sridharan in Bengaluru; Editing by Lincoln
Feast.)
  
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