* S.Korea's won set for best week since mid-February * Philippine peso on track for second weekly gain * U.S. Aug non-farm payroll data awaited * Japan PM Suga to step down - Kyodo By Sameer Manekar Sept 3 (Reuters) - The South Korean won gained slightly more than other Asian currencies against a broadly weaker U.S. dollar on Friday, as investors eyed key U.S. jobs data due out later for clues to the Federal Reserve's timeline for tapering its stimulus. The won firmed about 0.5% and was set to add nearly 1% over the week, its strongest weekly performance since mid-February, while the Philippine peso edged higher on Friday and was on track to post a third straight weekly gain. The Indonesian rupiah and Taiwanese dollar were also among the gainers, advancing up to 0.2% helped by a weaker U.S. dollar as investors awaited the key non-farm payrolls data for a better sense of the timing and pace of tapering by the Federal Reserve. The Fed, which has held on to its dovish stance so far, would likely be spurred into policy tightening if data shows a strong jobs number in the United States for August, thereby adding pressure on the risk-sensitive Asian markets. "A strong non-farm payrolls print would weigh on Asia macro markets, and we could see some give-back of the broad gains this week," analysts at Singapore-bank DBS said in a note. "With the Fed moving confidently towards taper, Asia is lagging in term of normalizing liquidity, and that will increasingly come into focus." On the downside, China's services sector activity slumped into a sharp contraction in August as restrictions to curb the COVID-19 Delta variant threatened the economic recovery in the region's biggest trading partner. The Thai baht unwound its gains from earlier in the week to depreciate about 0.2% on Friday, but was set to post a second weekly gain as the country began lifting restrictions even as worries of resurgence in coronavirus cases persisted. Analysts at Maybank said the fragile state of the tourism industry, and loss of tourist dollars, made it likely that the Bank of Thailand would stick to its accommodative monetary policy for longer, making any recovery in the Thai baht "challenging" in the near-term. Korean equities were also among the top gainers in the region, advancing nearly 1% as record closing highs on major U.S. share markets lifted sentiment, while shares in the Philippines and Thailand added about 0.5% each. Japan's Nikkei share average rose 1.7% to reach its highest since June, while the Topix index hit a three-decade high after Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga offered to resign. In Singapore, investors awaited retail sales data, with expectations that it will show a sharp slowdown to a negative year-on-year reading in July due to fading base year affects, according to Dutch-bank ING. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields edge higher to 6.118% ** Asian equities see foreign outflows for fourth straight month in August - nL4N2Q31KN ** Reuters September foreign exchange poll - nL4N2Q11VY Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0340 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDE STOCK STOCK DAILY YTD X S S YTD % % DAILY % % Japan -0.07 -6.1 <.N2 1.75 5.82 5 25> China <CNY=CFX -0.06 +1.0 <.SS -0.17 3.39 S> 6 EC> India 0.00 +0.0 <.NS 0.00 23.26 1 EI> Indones +0.11 -1.5 <.JK -0.14 1.52 ia 1 SE> Malaysi +0.07 -3.2 <.KL 0.10 -2.67 a 0 SE> Philipp +0.02 -3.3 <.PS 0.40 -3.89 ines 9 I> S.Korea <KRW=KFT +0.48 -6.0 <.KS 0.60 11.19 C> 3 11> Singapo -0.07 -1.6 <.ST -0.11 8.50 re 6 I> Taiwan +0.18 +2.8 <.TW 0.90 18.62 9 II> Thailan -0.34 -7.9 <.SE 0.11 13.81 d 3 TI> (Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)
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