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EMERGING MARKETS-Asian stocks, currencies gain as Biden-Xi phone call lifts mood

    * Taiwan dollar, Indonesian rupiah lead rises
    * Singapore, Taiwan stocks ride high
    * China shares eye best week in 7 months

    By Harish Sridharan
    Sept 10 (Reuters) - Emerging Asian currencies strengthened
on Friday, led by the Taiwan dollar and Indonesian rupiah, as a
phone call between U.S. President Joe Biden and China's premier
Xi Jinping was seen as a potential precursor to easing strained
relations.
    Equities in the broader region also advanced, recouping some
losses incurred this week, with Taiwan and Singapore
 adding 0.6% and 0.7%, respectively.
    Biden spoke by phone with Xi Jinping for about 90 minutes, a
senior U.S. official said, with both leaders discussing the need
to avoid letting competition between the world's two largest
economies veer into conflict.
    Relations between Washington and Beijing have been at their
lowest point in decades in the wake of the previous Donald Trump
administration, and it was only the second call between the
leaders since Biden took office in January.
    "Earlier engagements between lower level officials haven't
really gone well ... and markets weren't expecting Biden and Xi
to actually speak until the G-20 summit later in the year," said
Khoon Goh, head of Asia research at ANZ Banking Group
(Singapore).
    "Markets are taking this as a hopeful sign that maybe we
could see toning down of recent tensions."
    The rupiah, Taiwanese dollar and Singaporean
dollar added between 0.2% and 0.3%, while other regional
currencies also saw modest gains.
    Meanwhile stocks in Malaysia dipped a day after the
country's central bank held its benchmark interest rate at a
record low, expecting progress in the coronavirus vaccination
rate and the gradual easing of anti-COVID curbs to underpin
growth.
    But Top Glove, the world's largest medical glove
maker, bucked the losses to lead gains on the benchmark after it
said it had been allowed to resume sales to the United States,
with customs authorities lifting a year-long ban imposed for
alleged forced labour.
    Stocks in China, which have added nearly 3.5% this
week, were on course for their best weekly gain since
mid-February, despite fresh crackdowns on the country's gaming
sector.
    Stocks in South Korea, Thailand and
Indonesia were all set to post weekly losses, despite a
rally towards the end of the week. 
    
    HIGHLIGHTS
    ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are down 1.5 basis
points at 6.176%
    ** Top gainer on the Singapore STI was Mapletree
Industrial Trust, up 2.47% 
    ** Philippine stocks up as much as 0.5%, hitting
highest since July 8
    
    
  Asia stock indexes and                                       
 currencies at 0355 GMT                                   
 COUNTRY      FX RIC          FX     FX    INDEX  STOCKS  STOCK
                           DAILY  YTD %            DAILY  S YTD
                               %                       %      %
 Japan                     -0.12  -6.00             1.16  10.61
 China                     +0.14  +1.26             0.43   6.79
 India                     +0.00  -0.59             0.09  24.23
 Indonesia                 +0.25  -1.23             0.42   1.91
 Malaysia                  +0.14  -2.90            -0.25  -3.21
 Philippines               +0.16  -3.71             0.39  -2.65
 S.Korea                   +0.15  -6.96             0.41   8.84
 Singapore                 +0.25  -1.40             0.68   8.75
 Taiwan                    +0.33  +2.98             0.61  18.17
 Thailand                  +0.09  -8.30            -0.26  12.11
 

    
 (Reporting by Harish Sridharan in Bengaluru; Editing by Kenneth
Maxwell)
  
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