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EMERGING MARKETS-Asian currencies tied down as central banks seek to slow gains

    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
    * Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks tmsnrt.rs/3lKhL5I
    * Singapore stocks jump ahead of PM's national address
    * Asia FX rangebound against weaker dollar
    * S. Korean shares, won fall on surging domestic COVID-19
cases 

    By Shriya Ramakrishnan
    Dec 14 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies were rangebound
against a weaker dollar on Monday with several regional central
banks taking steps to counter appreciation against the
greenback, while stocks climbed on hopes of a vaccine-led
economy recovery. 
    With the dollar languishing near a 2-1/2-year low against a
basket of global currencies, both China's yuan and the Indian
rupee gained ground in the face of official moves to cap
appreciation. 
    The baht and the won both inched lower,
with dealers in Bangkok reporting more intervention by the Bank
of Thailand around the 30 per dollar level which exporters say
is critical to keep them globally competitive.
    Investors poured money into Asian equities last month,
helping both stock and currency markets recover further from
losses in the first quarter's coronavirus-driven sell-off. 
    Authorities are worried the flood of money, seeking out
higher-yields and economies which may bounce back faster next
year, will yield excessive gains in a number of Asia's
export-reliant economies.
    South Korea's president, Moon Jae-in, on Monday called for
steps to help exporters hit by a stronger won, adding that
measures to boost exports should be bolstered at a time when
domestic demand and consumption are shrinking.
    The won dipped 0.14%, and the export-focused KOSPI
also fell, as sentiment took a further hit after South Korea
ordered schools to close from Tuesday as it battles its worst
COVID-19 outbreak.
    The Indian rupee traded marginally higher, with
traders predicting the Reserve Bank of India would continue to
mop up dollar inflows after a brief hiatus last week. 
    "The RBI has been buying dollars continuously since June as
it looks to contain volatility when there is a large capital
outflow or inflow," said Anindya Banerjee, vice president at
Kotak Securities. 
    "This contrasting picture when the economy is still in the
dumps and the financial markets are doing so well is when there
will be an increased RBI presence."
    The yuan firmed around 0.1%, even after a
decision by the central bank to lower a parameter on
cross-border financing, widely seen as an official attempt to
slow the pace of the currency rally.
    Singapore stocks jumped 1.3%, with market
participants looking ahead to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's
national address on the COVID-19 situation in the city-state
later in the day.
    Government officials have previously said further easing of
COVID-19 curbs was possible by the end of the year, with only a
handful of local cases reported in recent weeks.
    
    HIGHLIGHTS:
    ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are down 6.5 basis
points at 6.117%
    ** Top gainers on the Singapore STI include
Comfortdelgro Corporation Ltd up 3.03% at S$5.31,
Keppel Corporation Ltd up 2.91% at S$8, City
Developments Ltd up ​ 2.56% at S$1.7
    ** Top gainers on the Jakarta stock index include
Apexindo Pratama Duta Tbk PT up 25% at 340 rupiah,
Indah Prakasa Sentosa Tbk PT up 25% at 3250 rupiah,
Indosat Tbk PT up ​ 24.72% at 3330 rupiah​​
    
    
  Asia stock indexes and                                   
 currencies at   0730 GMT                            
 COUNTRY   FX RIC        FX     FX     INDEX  STOCK  STOCKS
                      DAILY  YTD %                S   YTD %
                          %                   DAILY  
                                                  %  
 Japan                +0.05  +4.47             0.30   13.00
 China     <CNY=CFXS  +0.11  +6.49             0.66   10.46
           >                                         
 India                +0.15  -2.94             0.13   11.20
 Indonesi             -0.07  -1.42             1.07   -4.72
 a                                                   
 Malaysia             +0.02  +0.99            -0.08    5.95
 Philippi             +0.17  +5.45             0.49   -6.83
 nes                                                 
 S.Korea   <KRW=KFTC  -0.14  +5.92            -0.28   25.69
           >                                         
 Singapor             +0.11  +0.72             1.27  -11.33
 e                                                   
 Taiwan               +0.37  +6.25            -0.36   18.45
 Thailand             -0.08  -0.55            -0.12   -6.26
 

 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by
Patrick Graham and Subhranshu Sahu)
  
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