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EMERGING MARKETS-Asian FX firm as dollar slips; Indian shares rebound on ICICI Bank result

    * 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 robust results
    * Investors eye Fed meeting later this week

    By Harish Sridharan
    April 26 (Reuters) - Asian currencies held firm on Monday,
as bets that the U.S. Federal Reserve will retain an
accommodative policy stance at its meeting later this week
weighed on the dollar, while Indian shares were boosted by
robust results from a major lender.
    The greenback slipped to a two-month low amid speculation
that U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will shun talk of
tapering bond purchases at a policy meeting on Wednesday.
    "The Fed has been very clear that they are going to be
patient and will want to keep policy accommodative for a long
time. If that message comes through again... that should
continue to pressure the dollar lower," said Khoon Goh, head of
Asia research at ANZ Banking Group (Singapore).
    "With strong growth in the United States, some of that will
definitely spill over... especially through increased export
demand. That should be positive for export-oriented currencies
like South Korean won, Taiwan dollar and Singapore dollar," he
added.
    South Korean won and Taiwan dollar were
among the top performing currencies in the region, strengthening
0.4% and 0.6%, respectively.   
    Indian shares rose 1.1%, 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 an otherwise weak sentiment in the
region, as the country set a global record for a rise in daily
COVID-19 cases for a fifth-straight day, leading to several
states imposing strict curbs.
    "It remains to be seen if this second wave of COVID-19 cases
subsides without a national level lockdown," analysts at Bank of
America wrote, forecasting that a month of nationwide lockdown
was likely to cost the nation 100-200 basis points of GDP.
    Singapore's shares gained 0.3%, after the city-
state's manufacturing output for March increased 7.6% from last
year.
    "The manufacturing outperformance is likely to sustain in
the double-digit growth handle, partly due to base effects but
also due to the green shoots recovery in the global economy,
particularly for the major economies of the U.S. and China,"
analysts at OCBC wrote in a note.
    Shares in South Korea marked its best session in
nearly two weeks and Taiwan closed at yet another record
high.  
    Thai stocks lagged peers, after the country's
central bank warned it was likely to slash its economic growth
outlook for this year and next due to a rapidly spreading third
wave of COVID-19 infections.
    
   
    
Highlights
 
    ** Top gainer on the Taiwan SE Weighted Index was
Space Shuttle Hi-Tech Co Ltd, up 10.0%
    ** Top gainer on the Korea SE Kospi Index was
PharmGen Science Inc, up 29.9%
    ** The biggest gainers in the NSE index were ICICI
Bank Ltd and Axis Bank, up 4.86% and 3.3%,
respectively


  Asia stock indexes and                              
 currencies at   0741 GMT                        
 COUNTRY  FX RIC        FX     FX  INDE  STOCKS  STOCK
                     DAILY  YTD %     X   DAILY  S YTD
                         %                    %      %
 Japan               +0.14  -4.19  <.N2    0.36   6.13
                                   25>           
 China    <CNY=CFX   +0.12  +0.61  <.SS   -0.95  -0.92
          S>                       EC>           
 India               +0.34  -2.26  <.NS    1.14   3.74
                                   EI>           
 Indones             +0.22  -3.09  <.JK   -0.74  -0.11
 ia                                SE>           
 Malaysi             +0.12  -2.00  <.KL    0.77  -0.40
 a                                 SE>           
 Philipp             -0.33  -0.79  <.PS    0.18  -10.5
 ines                              I>                1
 S.Korea  <KRW=KFT   +0.41  -2.43  <.KS    0.99  11.97
          C>                       11>           
 Singapo             +0.08  -0.34  <.ST    0.32  12.68
 re                                I>            
 Taiwan              +0.58  +1.91  <.TW    1.57  19.28
                                   II>           
 Thailan             -0.10  -4.74  <.SE   -0.06   7.13
 d                                 TI>           
 



 (Reporting by Harish Sridharan in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi
Aich)
  
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