* Chinese yuan strengthens 0.2% * South Korean stocks rise 0.5% * Bank of England policy decision due at 1200 GMT By Indranil Sarkar Nov 4 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies were largely flat on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve said it would not rush to raise interest rates but approved plans to start unwinding its stimulus programme, while China's yuan touched a near one-week high. The Fed announced on Wednesday that it would trim its bond-buying by $15 billion a week from this month, while leaving open the option to quicken or slow the pace as needed, but signalled it would stay patient before raising borrowing costs. "The Federal Reserve finally accepted the economy has made enough progress to start slowing the rate of Quantitative Easing (QE) purchases," analysts at ING wrote in a note. "The economy is re-accelerating and inflation will hit 6%, meaning that pressure on the Fed to end QE early and hike rates will undoubtedly grow." The yuan firmed 0.2%, reflecting broad dollar weakness in global markets sparked by a somewhat dovish tone seen in the Fed's policy statement. Share markets across Asia firmed on Thursday, following the Fed's decision, which analysts say could feel the pain of the taper decision more than other regions. "Probably the elephant in the room will be China," Jeffrey Halley, Senior Market Analyst, Asia Pacific at OANDA said, adding that if its slowdown continues, a move to a looser monetary bias and a weaker Yuan would give "the rest of Asia another headache", especially in currency markets. The Thai baht, Taiwan dollar and the Philippine peso were all largely flat. South Korean stocks rose 0.3% after falling 1.3% on Tuesday, buoyed by technology giants Samsung Electronics and peer SK Hynix climbing 1% and 1.9%, respectively. The won slipped 0.1%. Stock markets in Singapore, Malaysia and India were closed on Thursday due to a holiday. Investors are now awaiting a Bank of England policy decision expected later in the day that may kick off a rate hike cycle with uncertain implications for debt markets globally. HIGHLIGHTS ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are up 1.3 basis points at 6.2% ** Singapore's 10-year benchmark yield is up 9 basis points at 1.8% ** Malaysia, Singapore and India on holiday Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0727 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX DAILY % FX YTD % INDEX STOCKS STOCKS DAILY % YTD % Japan -0.20 -9.61 0.93 8.56 China <CNY=CFX +0.20 +2.11 0.81 1.55 S> India +0.00 -1.87 -100.00 -100.00 Indonesia -0.35 -2.13 0.64 10.29 Malaysia +0.00 -3.18 -0.41 -5.89 Philippines -0.02 -5.15 0.26 0.90 S.Korea <KRW=KFT -0.08 -8.15 0.25 3.82 C> Singapore -0.12 -2.10 -0.39 13.22 Taiwan -0.00 +2.26 -0.25 15.93 Thailand -0.30 -10.33 0.61 11.89 (Reporting by Indranil Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.