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EMERGING MARKETS-Thai baht falls as c.bank remains dovish, Asian FX edge higher

* BOT chief resists early rate hike, sees inflation peaking in Q3 * India stocks hit highest since June 3 * Malaysia's June CPI up 3.4%, exceeds forecast By Tejaswi Marthi July 22 (Reuters) - The Thai baht dipped on Friday after the country's central bank said inflation would peak only in the third quarter and that monetary policy tightening in the future would be strictly data-driven, bucking a positive trend among regional currencies. The baht fell 0.4%. Bank of Thailand Governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput said inflation would return to the target range only by next year. Suthiwartnarueput 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. "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. Most currencies in the region edged higher even as the greenback perked up alongside U.S. Treasury yields. Both fell overnight after U.S. 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 Indian rupee, Indonesian rupiah and the Philippines' peso each edged 0.1% higher. The Malaysian ringgit also climbed 0.1% and was set for its best day in nearly four weeks. Data showed that Malaysia' consumer prices in June rose at the fastest pace annually from that in the previous month, driven by expensive prices of food and fuel. "We expect inflation to remain elevated in the coming months as high food prices, planned revisions in electricity tariffs and recent currency depreciation all add to the upward price pressure," analysts at Barclays said in a note. 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 upbeat earnings results from U.S. growth stocks. Singapore stocks, which gained 2.4% this week, hit their highest level since June 10 on Friday. Stocks in Malaysia and Indonesia gained 2.7% and 3.4%, respectively, for the week. Indian shares climbed 0.4% this week. Wall Street indexes continued their ascent overnight with earnings from Tesla and Netflix driving strong performance in the growth sector. U.S. equity futures, however, were lower during the Asian trade following a downbeat outlook from Snap, painting a grim picture of the effects of a weakening economy on social media. HIGHLIGHTS: ** India's central bank has zero tolerance for volatile and bumpy movements in the rupee and will continue to engage with the foreign exchange market ** Russia, China property will push emerging market corporate default rate above 10%, JPMorgan says ** Top gainers on Singapore's benchmark index are Genting Singapore, Keppel DC REIT and DBS Group Holdings DBSM.SI, up between 1.8% and 3.9% Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0639 GMT COUNTRY FX FX FX INDEX STOCK STOCKS RIC YTD S YTD % DAILY % % DAILY % Japan -0.35 -16.52 0.40 -3.05 China +0.05 -6.05 -0.63 -10.67 India +0.05 -6.98 0.40 -3.93 Indonesia +0.10 -5.09 0.41 4.73 Malaysia +0.11 -6.43 0.60 -6.92 Philippines +0.02 -9.46 -0.02 -12.18 S.Korea -0.40 -9.46 -0.66 -19.63 Singapore -0.04 -2.96 0.93 1.89 Taiwan -0.12 -7.47 0.08 -17.95 Thailand -0.30 -9.34 0.42 -6.32 (Reporting by Tejaswi Marthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)