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EMERGING MARKETS-S. Korea, Taiwan gain on recovery hopes, yuan briefly shines

    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
    * Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks tmsnrt.rs/3f2vwbA
    * Taiwan dollar clocks biggest weekly gain since early June
    * Yuan set for fourth straight weekly gain
    * Indonesia, Philippine markets shut for holidays

    By Shriya Ramakrishnan
    Aug 21 (Reuters) - Asian currencies struggled to gain on
Friday as China's yuan pulled back from a seven-month high, but
optimism over a trade-driven recovery in the region helped stock
markets in South Korea and Taiwan rebound from losses a day
earlier.
    The onshore yuan, whose gains currencies across
the region often tend to track, rose to 6.896 per dollar in
morning trade, its strongest level since Jan. 22, before
retreating slightly. 
    The currency was, however, set for a fourth straight weekly
gain, prompting some profit-taking, but with the dollar
regaining some ground, the jury is out on further gains.
    "The yuan remains supported by flows and rates
differentials....actions and retaliation taken on the trade
front have been on the soft side of expectation, which do not
derail the mildly upbeat sentiment on the yuan," said Frances
Cheung, head of macro strategy for Asia at Westpac.   
    The Thai baht, Malaysian ringgit and the
won hovered around flat to lower during the day.
    South Korean shares ended up more than 1% after data
showed exports in Asia's fourth-largest economy contracted less
in the first 20 days of August than in July.
    Taiwan's export orders, a bellwether for global technology
demand, grew at the strongest pace in two-and-a-half-years in
July on strong demand for telecommuting products as the pandemic
forced millions of people around the world to stay home.
    The island's dollar strengthened 0.5% against the
greenback, registering its biggest weekly gain since early June,
while its shares closed 2% higher.
    Indian shares gained about 1%, driven by strength in
banking and financial stocks, while the rupee traded
0.2% higher against a weaker dollar. 
    Rising inflation could limit the ability of India's Monetary
Policy Committee to support growth, its August meeting minutes
showed on Thursday, suggesting that the central bank sees no
room for rate cuts in the current environment.
    Financial markets in Indonesia and the Philippines were
closed for holidays. 
    
    HIGHLIGHTS:
    ** Thailand's 10-year government bond yields are down 1
basis points at 1.325%
    ** Top gainers on the Thailand's SETI include
Asiasoft Corporation PCL up 14.55% at 3.78 baht,
Symphony Communication PCL up ​ 12.57% at 4.12 baht
    ** Top losers on FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kl Index
include Genting Bhd down 4.47% at 3.63 ringgit;
Genting Malaysia Bhd down 3.48% at 2.22 ringgit; 
  Asia stock indexes and                                 
 currencies at   0726 GMT                          
 COUNTRY   FX RIC        FX     FX   INDEX  STOCK  STOCKS
                      DAILY  YTD %              S   YTD %
                          %                 DAILY  
                                                %  
 Japan                +0.22  +2.89  <.N225   0.17   -3.11
                                    >              
 China     <CNY=CFXS  +0.06  +0.75  <.SSEC   0.50   10.84
           >                        >              
 India                +0.20  -4.67  <.NSEI   0.81   -6.29
                                    >              
 Malaysia             -0.10  -2.04  <.KLSE  -0.02   -0.86
                                    >              
 S.Korea   <KRW=KFTC  +0.05  -2.52  <.KS11   1.34    4.87
           >                        >              
 Singapor             -0.03  -1.67           0.21  -21.39
 e                                                 
 Taiwan               +0.52  +2.51  <.TWII   1.98    5.09
                                    >              
 Thailand             -0.13  -4.96  <.SETI   0.41  -17.58
                                    >              
 
    

 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by
Patrick Graham and Arun Koyyur)
  
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