* India, Thailand, South Korea see surging infections * Singapore March inflation quickens, ahead of Reuters poll * Don't expect shift in MAS stance due to CPI data - strategist By Harish Sridharan April 23 (Reuters) - Asian equities and currencies were subdued on Friday, as surging coronavirus infections in India, Thailand and South Korea sapped appetite for investments in these markets. The overnight lead from Wall Street was also negative, as major indexes fell on reports that U.S President Joe Biden planned to raise taxes on the wealthy to fund major investments. Indian stocks gave up slim gains that came from firmer public bank stocks and traded flat, as investor sentiment remained shaky after the country recorded the world's highest daily tally of coronavirus cases for a second day in a row. South Korea's benchmark stock index closed higher, but notched its first weekly loss in five, as worries over surging virus cases in the country weighed on sentiment. Data showed Singapore's key price gauge rose by the fastest pace in more than a year in March, with core inflation rate rising to 0.5% against a forecast of an increase of 0.4% found by Reuters poll of economists. "Our view is underlying price pressures remain fairly well contained. We don't see it resulting in any sort of shift to a more hawkish stance from the Monetary Authority of Singapore any time soon," said Mitul Kotecha, Chief EM Asia & Europe strategist at TD Securities. "But I do think inflation will trend little bit higher in the months ahead anyway," he added. Equities were down 0.2%, while the Singapore dollar strengthened 0.1%. Stocks in Bangkok were marginally lower, as Thailand reported its highest number of daily cases since the pandemic began. Data showing an unexpected 8.47% jump in the country's exports for March, marking its fastest pace in 28 months, did little to lift the mood as the economic outlook remained uncertain. Malaysian government data showed that the country's consumer price index in March rose 1.7% from a year earlier, surpassing the 1.4% annual growth forecast by a Reuters poll. The country's equities and currency were flat. Highlights ** Top loser on Thailand's SETI was RPCG PCL , down 8.51% ** In the Philippines, top index loser was Bloomberry Resorts Corp, down 5.63% ** The biggest laggards in the NSE index were Cipla Ltd and Shree Cement Ltd Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0704 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDE STOCKS STOCK DAILY YTD % X DAILY S YTD % % % Japan +0.06 -4.31 <.N2 -0.57 5.74 25> China <CNY=CFX -0.07 +0.50 <.SS 0.23 0.00 S> EC> India +0.08 -2.44 <.NS -0.06 2.98 EI> Indones -0.10 -3.37 <.JK 0.17 0.43 ia SE> Malaysi +0.11 -2.09 <.KL 0.05 -1.15 a SE> Philipp -0.04 -0.76 <.PS -0.58 -10.6 ines I> 7 S.Korea <KRW=KFT -0.04 -2.83 <.KS 0.27 10.88 C> 11> Singapo +0.09 -0.53 <.ST -0.16 11.92 re I> Taiwan +0.18 +1.40 <.TW 1.19 17.43 II> Thailan -0.03 -4.40 <.SE -0.73 7.41 d TI> (Reporting by Harish Sridharan in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)
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