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EMERGING MARKETS-Asian currencies benefit from weaker dollar after Fed

    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E
    * Asian stock markets: tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4
    * Weaker dollar pushed Asian currencies higher
    * Thai stocks hit three weak high, baht firms
    * Philippine stocks suffer after restrictions extended

 (Adds Japan performance in table)
    By Harish Sridharan
    April 29 (Reuters) - Asian currencies strengthened on
Thursday, benefiting from a slide in the U.S dollar to a near
nine-week low after the U.S Federal Reserve maintained a dovish
outlook and quashed speculation on early bond tapering. 
    U.S Treasury yields fell overnight, pulling the dollar along
with it, after Fed Chair Jerome Powell said "it is not time yet"
to begin discussing any change in policy, implying a
continuation of the central bank's accommodative policy
settings.
    "Asian currencies are seeing relief gains on the back of the
Fed’s sanguine outlook on inflation, which implies that U.S.
monetary policy is likely to remain accommodative and supportive
of inflows into Asia," said Chang Wei-Liang, Macro Strategist
(FX and Credit) at DBS Bank. 
    "That said, the Fed’s dovish stance will be increasingly
challenged by improving U.S. data, with a robust U.S. recovery
taking shape now. As such, Asian currency gains could remain
restrained on expectations of an eventual Fed taper later this
year," he added.
    Though major indexes in Wall Street closed lower overnight,
stocks in Asia responded positively to Fed's dovish stance, with
most markets trading in positive territory.
    Indian shares jumped as much as 1.2% to mark a more
than six-week high, as investors turn their attention to a slew
of blue-chip earnings. 
    The COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage on in the nation,
but many countries have now pledged to help with critical
supplies and vaccines. 
    Equities in South Korea gained 0.2%, boosted by
strong quarterly earnings. The won strengthened 0.45%
and was at its strongest in more than two months.    
    Indonesian stocks saw gains, while Taiwan
gained as much as 0.8% to notch yet another record high.
    Markets in Malaysia were closed on account of a local
holiday. 
    Stocks in Bangkok extended gains from the previous
day and scaled a more than three-week peak, even as the country
continues to face the brunt of a third wave of coronavirus
infections. The baht gained 0.35%.
    Thailand's industry ministry said on Wednesday that the
country's manufacturing production index rose in March for the
first time in 23 months, benefiting from improved global demand
and a low base effect high. 
    However, some analysts were sceptical about the performance
of Thai markets. 
    "A huge cloud of uncertainty over the COVID-19 situation
especially in the run-up to this long holiday could keep a lid
on the market's upside though yesterday's rebound helps brighten
the short-term market outlook" analysts at Philip Securities
wrote in a note. 
    Stocks in Manila suffered after President Rodrigo
Duterte extended restrictions on movement and gathering in the
capital and nearby provinces for two more weeks, as the
Philippines battles one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in
the region.   
    
Highlights
     
    ** In the Philippines, top index loser was Bloomberry
Resorts Corp, down 2.84% 
    ** Autocorp Holding PCL was up 12.8% and among the
top gainers on the Thailand's SETI
    ** The biggest gainers in the NSE index were Tata Steel Ltd
 gaining 1.69% and Bajaj Finance Ltd, up 1.4%
    
  Asia stock indexes and currencies at                          
 0359 GMT                                                 
 COUNTRY      FX RIC          FX     FX    INDEX  STOCKS  STOCKS
                           DAILY  YTD %            DAILY   YTD %
                               %                       %  
 Japan                     -0.03  -4.95             0.21    5.87
 China                     +0.11  +0.87             0.17   -0.29
 India                     +0.00  -1.73             0.77    7.13
 Indonesia                 +0.21  -2.94             0.52    0.44
 Philippines               +0.07  -0.82            -0.73  -10.06
 S.Korea                   +0.45  -1.97             0.15   10.88
 Singapore                 +0.02  -0.29             0.06   13.28
 Taiwan                    +0.22  +2.17             0.22   19.51
 Thailand                  +0.35  -4.10             0.78    9.64
 
        
    
    
    
    
    
    























 (Reporting by Harish Sridharan in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim
Coghill)
  
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