EMERGING MARKETS-Asian stocks, FX gain as Biden-Xi phone call lifts sentiment

    * Taiwan dollar, Singapore dollar lead gains
    * Philippine shares close at 2-month high
    * China shares hit 7-month high

    By Harish Sridharan
    Sept 10 (Reuters) - A surge in Taiwan and Singapore
currencies bolstered emerging Asian forex markets on Friday, as
investors viewed a phone call between U.S. President Joe Biden
and China's premier Xi Jinping as a potential precursor to
easing strained relations.
    Equities in the broader region also rose, recouping some
losses incurred this week, with Taiwan and Singapore
 adding 1% and 0.8%, respectively. 
    Biden spoke by phone with Xi 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.
    "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."
    Sino-U.S. relations deteriorated to their lowest point in
decades due to a long-drawn trade war and COVID-19-related
tensions, especially during the preceding Donald Trump
administration. The Biden-Xi conversation was only the second
call between the leaders since Biden took office in January.
    Analysts at Maybank, however, said that "spillovers to
sentiments could be constrained without more discernible
translation to policy changes." 
    Stocks in China, rose 0.3%, notching their highest
since mid-February, while equities in Philippines added
0.7% to close at its highest since July 7.
    The rupiah, the Taiwanese dollar, the
Malaysian ringgit and the Singaporean dollar added
between 0.2% and 0.3%, while other regional currencies saw
modest gains.
    Malaysian shares 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.

    ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are down 3.4 basis
points at 6.157%
    ** Top gainer on the Singapore STI was Mapletree
Industrial Trust, up 2.47% 
    ** Markets in India are closed for a public holiday
 Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0652 GMT
                           DAILY  YTD %            DAILY  S YTD
                               %                       %      %
 Japan                     -0.22  -6.09             1.25  10.70
 China                     +0.20  +1.32             0.31   6.66
 Indonesia                 +0.18  -1.30             0.47   1.96
 Malaysia                  +0.19  -2.85            -0.22  -3.18
 Philippines               +0.14  -3.73             0.67  -2.37
 S.Korea                   +0.01  -7.09             0.36   8.78
 Singapore                 +0.22  -1.43             0.78   8.85
 Taiwan                    +0.29  +2.93             0.98  18.61
 Thailand                  +0.15  -8.24            -0.02  12.38

 (Reporting by Harish Sridharan in Bengaluru; editing by