(.) * Malaysian shares set to end six-week winning streak * S. Korean won hits more than two-week low * Taiwan dollar hovers close to 23-year peak By Shriya Ramakrishnan Dec 18 (Reuters) - The won led declines among Asian currencies on Friday after South Korea reported another jump in COVID-19 cases, while regional stocks fell as investors cashed in on gains heading into the holiday season. Even as the U.S. dollar looked set for its worst week in a month, trading in most regional currencies was muted, with the Indonesian rupiah, Philippine peso and Malaysian ringgit flat against the greenback. The won weakened 0.5% as South Korea reported 1,062 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, the second-highest daily figure since it confirmed its first infection in January. South Korea had managed to keep cases relatively low during the previous two waves of infection, but the third wave has proven far more challenging, and the government has said it may have to impose harsher restrictions on business activity. "The near-term outlook for KRW remains contingent on how well South Korea can contain the latest wave of domestic COVID-19 cases," said market analyst Han Tan at FXTM. "Still, a dampened won might ensure the nation's exports remain competitive." Malaysian shares were among the worst hit in the region, sliding 1.3% with the financial and consumer sectors accounting for most of the losses. The benchmark index was set to snap six straight weeks of gain. Philippine shares fell 1%, a day after the central bank left key interest rates steady at its policy meeting. "There is a bit of profit taking rather than any change in sentiment. Investors are still fairly constructive next year for Asian emerging markets," said Mitul Kotecha, senior EM strategist at TD Securities. Signs of a rapid recovery in China, a liquidity glut and the hunt for yields has seen foreign investors rush back to Asian equities after a pandemic-induced selloff earlier this year. The hefty capital inflows have driven large shifts in currency markets, leading to concerns among central banks of some of the export-reliant Asian economies. The U.S. Treasury on Thursday added India, Thailand and Taiwan to a watch list of countries it suspects may be deliberately devaluing their currencies against the dollar. "The U.S. Treasury report might just give central banks some pause for thought," Kotecha said "If anything that just means even stronger Asian currencies because they might think twice about aggressively intervening by buying dollars." The Taiwanese dollar climbed 1.3% and held close to a 23-year peak hit on Thursday, as its central bank raised its growth outlook for the year. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Thailand's 10-year government bond yields are down 3.50 basis points at 1.215% ** Top losers on FTSE Bursa Malaysia KL Index include Public Bank Bhd down 3.63% at 20.72 ringgit; Genting Bhd down 2.93% at 4.64 ringgit ** In the Philippines, top index losers are SM Investments Corp down 3.02% at 1061 pesos; Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc down 2.57% at 153 pesos Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0427 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDEX STOCK STOCKS DAILY YTD % S YTD % % DAILY % Japan -0.31 +5.02 -0.13 13.17 China <CNY=CFXS -0.09 +6.46 0.13 11.78 > India 0.00 -3.01 -0.41 12.46 Indonesi +0.04 -1.42 0.14 -2.82 a Malaysia -0.05 +1.34 -1.31 4.01 Philippi -0.03 +5.42 -0.97 -7.52 nes S.Korea <KRW=KFTC -0.52 +5.22 0.11 26.20 > Singapor -0.11 +1.33 -0.14 -11.44 e Taiwan +1.25 +7.02 0.11 18.99 Thailand +0.17 +0.44 -0.29 -6.35 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Christopher Cushing)
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