EMERGING MARKETS-Most Asian stocks, currencies gain in thin trade ahead of Lunar New Year holiday

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    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E
    * U.S. dollar hits 1-week low 
    * Indonesian shares eye 5-day rally
    * Vietnam markets closed from Feb. 10-16

    By Shruti Sonal
    Feb 9 (Reuters) - Most emerging Asian stocks gained on
Tuesday in line with a broader rally, as volumes remained thin
ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays, while regional currencies
strengthened against a weaker dollar.
    The dollar slid as doubts emerged about the scale of a
recent rally, while Asian shares rose in thin trade after Wall
Street reached record closing highs overnight.
    Investor optimism around U.S. stimulus measures and a
vaccine rollout has underpinned demand for riskier assets in the
region, said Sim Moh Siong, FX strategist at Bank of Singapore. 
    The Thai baht, Malaysian ringgit and the
Singapore dollar edged up about 0.2% each.
    Investors also looked to regional central banks to gauge
their response to seasonal demand for cash ahead of the Lunar
New year holidays. 
    "With most of Asia shutting down for Lunar New Year,
starting with Taiwan and Vietnam tomorrow, liquidity will
steadily erode in Asia, where trading appears muted already
today", said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst, at OANDA.
    "That will leave those markets that are still open,
vulnerable to headline-driven, temporary volatility spikes".
    Demand for cash ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays drove
Vietnam's overnight interbank rates to their
highest since May 2020 on Monday. The country's central bank has
injected some $1.6 billion in cash into the banking system over
the past five trading days.
    Central banks in China and in Indonesia also injected
liquidity into their financial markets last week ahead of the
    Analysts said COVID-19 disruptions have made it harder for
regional central banks to gauge cash demand. 
    "The cash injection is typically higher going into the Lunar
New Year... but I think this is a bit special because of the
pandemic, which is why we're seeing more volatility in the
short-term interest rates", Siong said. 
    "Central banks have a bit more difficulty in estimating cash
demand because, unlike in the previous years, given that people
cannot travel, visit each other and go out as much".
    Indonesian shares rose for a fifth straight session,
extending a rally driven by the expansion of a COVID-19 relief
budget last week. 
     The Thai benchmark also increased for a fourth
consecutive day, while India was on track for a
seven-day rally.
    ** Philippine lawmakers pass bill to tax online gambling
    ** Indonesian 3-year benchmark yields are up 3.6 basis
points at 5.102%
    ** Top gainers on FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kl Index
include Telekom Malaysia Bhd, MISC Bhd,
Genting Bhd
  Asia stock indexes and                                 
 currencies at 0449 GMT                            
                     DAILY       %          DAILY   YTD %
                         %                      %  
 Japan               +0.36   -1.53  <.N22   0.04    7.13
 China    <CNY=CFX   +0.00   +1.23  <.SSE    1.22    2.95
          S>                        C>             
 India               +0.12   +0.27  <.NSE    0.39    8.53
 Indones             +0.00   +0.32  <.JKS    0.25    4.10
 ia                                 E>             
 Malaysi             +0.20   -0.86  <.KLS    0.61   -2.72
 a                                  E>             
 Philipp             +0.04   -0.06  <.PSI    0.81   -0.82
 ines                               >              
 S.Korea  <KRW=KFT   +0.43   -2.57  <.KS1    0.30    7.90
          C>                        1>             
 Singapo             +0.23   -0.66  <.STI    0.17    3.25
 re                                 >              
 Taiwan              +1.41   +1.74  <.TWI       -    7.26
 Thailan             +0.23   +0.03  <.SET    0.38    5.02
 d                                  I>             

 (Reporting by Shruti Sonal in Bengaluru; Additional reporting
by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

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