Thai baht, Indian rupee lead Asia FX gains; stocks rebound

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  • Thai baht set for its worst week in a month
  • Singapore stocks up 0.5%, headed for worst week in 9 months
  • Philippines closed for holiday

Feb 25 (Reuters) - Emerging market currencies and stocks in Asia rose on Friday, tracking a broader recovery after Russia's invasion of Ukraine sent global assets tumbling in the previous session, although sentiment was still cautious.

The Thai baht and the Indian rupee made a swift recovery against the dollar, with both jumping 0.4% each, even as oil prices surged nearly 3%. USD=

However, the baht, which has outperformed all of its Asian emerging peers so far this year, was set for its worst weekly drop in a month.

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"I think the baht has now become a barometer of emerging market currencies and its rebound suggests that investors are probably buying the dips," said Margaret Yang, a Singapore-based strategist with DailyFX.

Analysts expect the volatility seen in Asian stocks during this week to guide the moves in the foreseeable future.

"The main drivers of this volatility – geopolitical tensions and inflation – particularly in energy and commodities and uncertainty about the pace and extent of monetary policy tightening – continue unabated," said Manishi Raychaudhuri, head of Asia-Pacific equity research, BNP Paribas.

"Therefore, today's recovery in Asian equities appears to be a technical rebound, in our view."

Investors will closely watch any moves by the U.S. Federal Reserve as its officials begin taking stock of how the Russia-Ukraine conflict might influence the economy and their planned shift to tighter monetary policy. read more

"Ukraine or no Ukraine, the U.S. faces inflation that is running at a 40-year high. If inflation continues to print above expectations and run hot, then the Fed may still have to stick with its aggressive path this year. This is what could make trading difficult for Asian emerging markets, both currencies and stock markets," IG Asia analyst Daniel Dubrovsky said.

Singapore's dollar firmed 0.2% and South Korean won reversed losses to gain 0.1%, while Indonesia rupiah and Malaysian ringgit were up 0.1% each.

Asian equities tracked overnight Wall Street gains to jump higher, with Indian shares leading gains.

Shares in South Korea (.KS11), Singapore (.STI), Indonesia (.JKSE) and Thailand (.SETI) gained in the range of 0.5%-1%, while Malaysian stocks (.KLSE) jumped 1.7%.

The Singapore index is, however, on track for a 4% weekly loss, its biggest drop in over nine months. Kuala Lumpur shares were headed for their biggest weekly fall since Jan. 28.

Highlights:

** Indian stocks up 3% during the session, set for a 3.1% weekly drop, worst week in five

** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are up 1.2 basis points at 6.528%​​

** Top gainers on the Singapore STI (.STI) include Sembcorp Industries Ltd (SCIL.SI) up 3.67%, Venture Corporation Ltd (VENM.SI) up 2.85%, Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (STEL.SI) up ​ 2.77%

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Reporting by Savyata Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich

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