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EMERGING MARKETS-Asia FX bit by recession worries, yuan gains on China's easing of curbs

June 29 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies declined on Wednesday as weak U.S. consumer confidence data brought fears of a recession back to centre stage, while the Chinese yuan and Thai baht cheered China's easing of visitor quarantine rules. The Philippine peso PHP= and Malaysian ringgit MYR= shed 0.3% and 0.1%, respectively, against the U.S. dollar. India's rupee INR=IN fell a further 0.3%, hitting another record low at 78.97 to the dollar, after hitting its previous trough on Tuesday. Consumer confidence in the United States hit a 16-month low in June, data showed, with households worried about high inflation and a subsequent economic slowdown. The U.S. dollar also weakened, with the dollar index .DXY, which measures its move against a basket of select currencies, down about 0.1% but Asian currencies were unable to see much benefit from this as risk appetite also took a hit. South Korea's won as well as its stocks took a hammering as local consumer sentiment showed pessimism and high inflation expectations. KRW/ The won KRW=KFTC gave up 0.8%, while stocks .KS11 retreated 1.4% and led the underperformers in Asia. China eased quarantine requirements for international visitors late on Tuesday, halving quarantine time at centralised facilities to seven days. That helped the yuan to buck the general weak trend. "We see this as an indication that China is a tad more confident in “living with Covid” and greater easing of broad zero-Covid strategy would be supportive of the yuan," analysts at Maybank said. China's yuan CNY=CFXS managed a 0.1% rise, while the Thai baht THB=TH gained 0.3% on the day, both furthering gains from late on Tuesday. Krung Thai Bank markets strategist Poon Panichpibool attributed the move to traders long on the dollar-baht pair taking profits, and other traders beginning to short the pair as they hoped for a brighter tourism outlook for Thailand. The World Bank kept its economic growth forecast for Thailand unchanged at 2.9% for the year, boosted by tourism recovery and private consumption. Thailand's finance minister, however, said on Tuesday they expected a 3.5% growth. "People will focus on the outlook from the Bank of Thailand as it could signal how far and how fast the BOT could hike rates," Panichpibool said, adding that any growth rate figure around the 3% mark is in-line with expectations. Separately, Thailand's factory output also recorded a surprise fall in May. Stock markets across Asia remained subdued as investors seemed unwilling to take on much risk following dwindling U.S. consumer confidence. Markets in Thailand .SETI and India .NSEI lost about 0.6% each, while markets in the Philippines .PSI and Indonesia .JKSE were down 0.2% and 0.3%, respectively. HIGHLIGHTS: ** China factory activity likely expanded for the first time in four months in June - Reuters poll ** Indonesia 10-year benchmark yield ID10YT=RR 1.1 basis points higher at 7.303% Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0446 GMT FX RIC FX DAILY % FX YTD % STOCKS DAILY % STOCKS YTD % JPY= .N225 CNY=CFXS .SSEC INR=IN .NSEI Indonesia IDR= .JKSE Malaysia MYR= .KLSE Philippines PHP= .PSI KRW=KFTC .KS11 Singapore SGD= .STI TWD=TP .TWII Thailand THB=TH .SETI (Reporting by Harshita Swaminathan; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman) ((Harshita.Swaminathan@thomsonreuters.com)) The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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