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EMERGING MARKETS-South Korean won, Asian equities gain ahead of U.S. jobs data

    * S.Korea's won set for best week since mid-Feb
    * Thai baht on track for second weekly gain
    * Indian shares scale record peak
    * Japan's Topix index hits more than 3-decade high 

    By Sameer Manekar
    Sept 3 (Reuters) - The South Korean won strengthened among
largely mixed Asian currencies on Friday against a broadly
weaker dollar, as investors awaited a key U.S. jobs data for
directions on the Federal Reserve's tapering timeline.
    The won strengthened about 0.4% and was set to
add more than 1% over the week, its strongest weekly performance
since mid-February, while the Malaysian ringgit added
0.2% and was set for its second 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 Malaysian ringgit remained resilient, adding 1%
over the week ahead of the central bank meeting, though most
Asian economies as well as the region's top trading partner
China posted subdued factory and services sector activity during
the week.
    Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) will hold its monetary policy
committee meeting on Thursday to deliberate on its key overnight
policy rate, which is currently at a record low level.
    "The return of political stability under PM Ismail Sabri
Yaakob, along with the recent outperformance of the ringgit will
allow the BNM to leave the overnight rate at the record low
level of 1.75% currently," said Prakash Sakpal, senior economist
at Dutch-bank ING.
    Among losers, the Thai baht erased gains made
earlier in the week to slip about 0.6% on Friday, but it was set
to post a second weekly gain as the country began lifting
restrictions.
    Equities in the region were largely in the green, with the
Philippine bourse and Seoul shares adding almost
1% each, while Thailand and Indonesia added as
much as 0.5% each.
    India's Nifty 50 scaled yet another peak on Friday.
The stock index has outperformed its Asian peers so far this
year as it enjoys abundant liquidity and positive global cues.

    Japan's Nikkei share average rose 2.04% to its
highest close since June 16, while the broader Topix
index hit a more than three-decade high, after Prime Minister
Yoshihide Suga offered to resign.
    Singapore shares, on the other hand, were down 0.3%
and the local currency traded little changed as data
showed retail sales in July grew marginally from last year as
compared with a massive 26% jump in the prior month.

   
    HIGHLIGHTS:    
    ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields edge higher to 6.123%
    ** Asian equities see foreign outflows for fourth straight
month in August - nL4N2Q31KN
    ** Thai activists push for PM to quit as confidence vote
looms - nL4N2Q51C4
    
  Asia stock indexes and                            
 currencies at 0718 GMT                        
 COUNTRY  FX RIC        FX    FX  INDE  STOCK  STOCK
                     DAILY   YTD     X      S  S YTD
                         %     %        DAILY      %
                                            %  
 Japan               -0.04  -6.1  <.N2  2.05   6.14
                               1  25>          
 China    <CNY=CFX   -0.03  +1.0  <.SS  -0.43   3.13
          S>                   9  EC>          
 India               -0.06  -0.0  <.NS   0.24  23.56
                               5  EI>          
 Indones             +0.11  -1.5  <.JK   0.40   2.07
 ia                            1  SE>          
 Malaysi             +0.19  -3.0  <.KL  -0.06  -2.82
 a                             9  SE>          
 Philipp             -0.27  -3.6  <.PS   0.91  -3.40
 ines                          7  I>           
 S.Korea  <KRW=KFT   +0.39  -6.1  <.KS   0.79  11.40
          C>                   2  11>          
 Singapo             +0.00  -1.5  <.ST  -0.27   8.32
 re                            9  I>           
 Taiwan              +0.21  +2.9  <.TW   1.14  18.90
                               2  II>          
 Thailan             -0.56  -8.1  <.SE   0.21  13.92
 d                             3  TI>          
 
 (Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi
Aich)
  
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