EMERGING MARKETS-Thai baht falls as c.bank remains dovish, Asia stocks rise

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* BOT chief resists early rate hike, sees inflation peaking in Q3 * Singapore stocks hit highest since June 10 * Malaysia's June CPI up 3.4%, exceeds forecast By Tejaswi Marthi July 22 (Reuters) - The Thai baht extended losses on Friday after the country's central bank said inflation was under control and that future rate hikes would be strictly data-driven, bucking a firmer trend among regional currencies. The baht fell 0.4%. Bank of Thailand (BoT) Governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput said inflation would peak in the third quarter before returning to the target range next year. He ruled out the need for a special rate meeting, following off-cycle policy tightening moves by counterparts in the Philippines and Singapore last week, adding that rate hikes would be gradual, as he remained confident that the Thai economy would return to pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter of 2023. The Thai and Indonesian central banks are the only emerging Asian central banks that have not raised rates recently. "The central bank is going the wrong way. They say they are ahead of the curve but that is not true because they have continued to maintain record low rates in the face of surging inflation," said Kobsidthi Silpachai, head of capital markets research at Kasikornbank. "I expect BOT to hikes rates moderately in August and November. But I don't expect them to resort to a hawkish stance overnight," he added. Most currencies in the region edged higher even as the U.S. dollar perked up alongside U.S. Treasury yields. Both had fallen overnight after data showed a slump in factory activity and a rise in claims for unemployment benefits, implying that the economy is already feeling the effects of aggressive Federal Reserve tightening, potentially giving the central bank less to do in future. The Malaysian ringgit, Indonesian rupiah and Indian rupee rose 0.1% each. The Philippines peso also edged higher. Equities in Asia's emerging markets rose for a third straight session and were set to post weekly gains, as they continued to ride high on strong earnings results from growth stocks in the U.S. Singapore stocks rose 0.7% on Friday, to their highest level since June 10 and were also up 2.4% this week. Stocks in Malaysia and Indonesia gained 2.7% and 3.4%, respectively, for the week. Wall Street indexes continued their ascent overnight with results from Tesla and Netflix driving outperformance in the growth sector. "Corporate earnings have provided a mixed picture overall, but subdued factory activity in the U.S. and an uptick in jobless claims there also point towards further moderation in economic activities, but markets have been shrugging off these growth worries for now," said Jun Rong Yeap, market strategist at IG. U.S. equity futures were, however, lower in Asia on Friday following a downbeat outlook from Snap. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Malaysia's June CPI up 3.4% y/y, higher than forecast ** Russia, China property will push emerging market corporate default rate above 10%, JPMorgan says ** Top gainers on Singapore's benchmark index are Genting Singapore, DBS Group Holdings and United Overseas Bank, up between 1.6% and 4.5% Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0451 GMT COUNTRY FX FX FX INDEX STOCKS STOCKS RIC YTD DAILY YTD % DAILY % % % Japan -0.27 -16.45 0.46 -2.99 China India +0.08 -6.95 0.19 -4.13 Indonesia +0.11 -5.08 0.41 4.73 Malaysia +0.09 -6.45 0.60 -6.92 Philippines +0.02 -9.46 0.05 -12.12 S.Korea Singapore -0.09 -3.01 0.80 1.73 Taiwan -0.13 -7.48 -0.02 -18.03 Thailand -0.39 -9.43 0.40 -6.35 (Reporting by Tejaswi Marthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonali Desai)