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CORRECTED-EMERGING MARKETS-Asian currencies firm against dollar ahead of Fed

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(Corrects to drop extraneous reference to Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields in the first bullet under highlights) * Fed meeting to be held later today; 50-bp hike expected * Holidays in China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand curb trading activity * Philippine stocks hit near 8-month low By Tejaswi Marthi May 4 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies rose on Wednesday, with the South Korean won leading gains, as caution ahead of the Federal Reserve's policy announcement later in the day put the dollar on the back foot. The won strengthened 0.6% ahead of the announcement, while the Philippine peso advanced marginally. Some local markets like Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand were closed for public holidays. The dollar was slightly lower to flat against a basket of major currencies around midday in Asia with Fed policymakers expected to hike interest rates by 50 basis points (BPS) later in the day in a bid to tame surging inflation. "The upshot is that a lot of Fed tightening has been communicated and already been priced, but there are considerable uncertainties on where the terminal rate should settle at, thereby accounting for elevated implied volatility," analysts at DBS said in a note. Local stock markets seesawed ahead of the Fed's announcement, with equities in Singapore and South Korea falling 0.1% and 0.2%, respectively. Philippine stocks were 0.4% lower after paring losses from a 1% decline earlier, when it plumbed its lowest level since August 2021, as investors awaited the country's inflation data on Thursday. The country also hits voting booths on May 9 for presidential elections. "Although most candidates have expressed the desire to continue the programs of the incumbent, a relatively high debt-to-GDP ratio suggests that the eventual Presidential winner will not enjoy much fiscal space to pursue an aggressive spending strategy to fulfil campaign promises," said Nicholas Mapa, senior economist for the Philippines at ING. A Reuters poll shows that inflation in April is expected to come in at 4.6%, within the central bank's estimate range of 4.2% to 5%. "The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor has remained steadfast in his guidance to keep rates unchanged to support the economy recovery but he has recently signalled he would be open to hiking by June," Mapa added. Last week, BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said the central bank, which has kept interest rates at a record low of 2% since November 2020, would consider hiking rates at its policy meeting in June to keep inflation in control. Trading activity was thin as major markets Japan and China were shut. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Indian 10-year benchmark yields rise 2.3 basis points to 7.142% ** Manila Electric and Globe Telecom led losses on the benchmark Philippines index to fall 3.7% and 2.5% ** India has asked state and private sector utilities to ensure delivery of 19 million tonnes of coal from overseas by end-June as power woes mount Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0413 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDE STOCKS STOCKS DAILY % YTD % X DAILY YTD % % Japan -0.02 -11.5 <.N2 - - 7 25> India +0.13 -2.73 <.NS 0.02 -1.62 EI> Philippi +0.10 -2.79 <.PS -0.42 -5.94 nes I> S.Korea 11> Singapor -0.04 -2.51 <.ST -0.10 7.47 e I> Taiwan -0.02 -6.25 <.TW 0.23 -9.24 II> (Reporting by Tejaswi Marthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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