* Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh * Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks tmsnrt.rs/3f2vwbA * Sino-U.S. tensions keep Asian shares muted * S. Korean shares down on GDP forecast cut By Shriya Ramakrishnan Aug 27 (Reuters) - Asian currencies struggled on Thursday as investors looked to a key speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell for hints on inflation and monetary policy, while Sino-U.S. tensions kept a lid on gains for stock markets. Investors have largely priced in a dovish message from Powell when he opens the Kansas City Fed's annual economic policy conference later in the day, the question is whether any adjustments he may make to its policy toolbox will be enough to flatten U.S. market interest rates further. "Given the overwhelming likelihood of Fed staying dovish for a long time to come, I wouldn't read much into the recent struggle for Asia currencies to make headway against USD – all it needs is a reinforcement of Powell and Fed of their dovish stance for the USD sell off theme to sustain," said Mahesh Sethuraman, deputy head of global sales trading at Saxo Capital Markets. The Indonesian rupiah, Malaysian ringgit and Philippines peso were all flat to marginally lower against the dollar, but the Thai baht edged up 0.2% and the Taiwan dollar was again the top gainer, up 0.6%. South Korea's won also held in positive territory as its central bank kept policy rates at a record low 0.50%, in a widely expected move after delivering 75 basis points of rate cuts so far this year. Shares in Seoul's export-focused KOSPI, however, were set to snap a four-day winning streak as the Bank of Korea cut its 2020 forecast for gross domestic product for an economy now battling its worst COVID-19 outbreak since early March. Stock markets across Asia lagged a tech-driven rally on Wall Street overnight after Washington blacklisted 24 Chinese companies it said were part of construction and military action in the South China Sea. Shares in Singapore were down about 0.5%, while Philippine and Thai stocks posted marginal gains. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Thailand's 10-year government bond yields are down 2.5 basis points at 1.395% ** Top losers on the Singapore STI include Mapletree Commercial Trust down 3.03% at S$1.92; Singapore Airlines Ltd down 2.13% at S$3.68; Dairy Farm International Holdings Ltd down 2.07% at S$4.26 ** Top gainers on the Thailand's SETI include Asiasoft Corporation PCL up 13.76% at 4.96 baht, Thai Film Industries PCL up 12.5% at 0.09 baht, TKrungthai Industries PCL up 11.43% at 1.17 baht Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0411 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDEX STOCK STOCKS DAILY % YTD % S YTD % DAILY % Japan -0.01 +2.47 -0.27 -1.82 China <CNY=CFXS +0.04 +1.17 0.29 9.48 > India 0.00 -3.92 0.56 -4.56 Indonesi -0.14 -5.51 -0.12 -15.33 a Malaysia -0.07 -1.92 0.21 -2.26 Philippi -0.10 +4.11 0.20 -23.95 nes S.Korea <KRW=KFTC +0.08 -2.49 -0.60 7.16 > Singapor +0.00 -1.55 -0.53 -21.54 e Taiwan +0.56 +2.57 0.07 7.04 Thailand +0.22 -4.32 0.27 -16.06 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Patrick Graham and William Mallard)
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