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EMERGING MARKETS-Most Asian currencies inch higher heading into Lunar New Year holidays

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(.) * China and S. Korea stock markets on holiday * India's stocks rise 1.4% * By Indranil Sarkar Jan 31 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies inched higher in thin trading on Monday ahead of a week with key Australian, UK and European central bank meetings, while stocks firmed though surging oil prices added to worries over inf.lation. The Indonesian rupiah, Malaysian ringgit and Philippine peso firmed between 0.1% and 0.2% even as the dollar remained strong buoyed by rate hike expectations. Market pricing now suggests a more than 90% chance of at least four rate hikes by the end of the year in the world's largest economy and a 67% chance of at least five. Stock markets across the region also moved higher on Monday, with India and Philippine shares rising about 1.5% each. Financial markets in China and South Korea were closed on Monday for the eve of Lunar New Year. Indian shares rose after two weeks of heavy losses, as investors snapped up beaten-down technology stocks, with a slew of blue-chip earnings and the federal budget in focus. India's rupee rose 0.1%. In China, data on Sunday showed that the country's factory activity slowed in January as a resurgence of COVID-19 cases and tough lockdowns hit production and demand. "Overall, sentiment (in China) remained in expansion ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays, helped by official stimulus efforts," analysts at TD Securities wrote in a note. "Although official stimulus measures will likely help to avoid a sharp slowing in growth, sentiment among both manufacturers and services is unlikely to get back to pre-COVID levels anytime soon." The Shanghai Composite Index has lost around 7.6% already this year, after rising nearly 5% in 2021. The Indonesian currency and stocks were both largely flat on Monday, days after the country's policymakers rattled global markets with restrictions on some of its biggest commodities exports - and with more such moves in the works. Japan's Nikkei bounced 1.3% from a 14-month trough, though data on industrial output and retail sales undershot forecasts. Malaysian stocks slipped 0.5%, while Singapore's Straits Times Index inched 0.1% higher. HIGHLIGHTS ** Top gainers on the Singaporean benchmark include Genting Singapore Ltd, Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd and SATS Ltd ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are down 1 basis points at 6.454%​​ Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0741 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDEX STOCKS STOCK DAILY YTD % DAILY % S YTD % % Japan -0.21 -10.6 <.N225 1.07 -6.22 0 > China > India +0.08 -2.55 <.NSEI 1.66 0.19 > Indones +0.07 -2.33 <.JKSE -0.11 11.03 ia > Malaysi +0.14 -3.87 <.KLSE -0.51 -3.53 a > Philipp +0.20 -5.90 1.51 3.11 ines S.Korea > 6 Singapo -0.01 -2.51 0.10 4.03 re Taiwan -0.08 +2.35 <.TWII -0.15 -2.99 > Thailan -0.03 -10.3 <.SETI 0.79 -0.31 d 3 > (Reporting by Indranil Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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