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Asia, Forex

South Korea shares jump after upbeat data, China down over 1%

* Chinese regulator studying measures to manage capital inflows * China annual parliament session on Friday * S.Korea Feb factory activity expands at fastest pace in nearly 11 years March 2 (Reuters) – South Korean shares stood out from Asia’s emerging markets on Tuesday after its exports and factory activity data reinforced hopes of an economic recovery, while Chinese equities fell sharply over concerns around policy tightening. Stocks in the rest of the region edged higher, while currencies stuck to tight ranges against a firmer dollar, at a time when the U.S. economic recovery shows signs of strength amid optimism about the passage of a COVID-19 relief package. The benchmark index in Seoul came off its highs by the afternoon, having made a strong start after re-opening from a public holiday on Monday. Factory activity in South Korea expanded at its fastest pace in nearly 11 years in February, while exports rose for a fourth straight month, underpinning momentum for the trade-reliant economy, Asia’s fourth-largest. A spike in U.S. Treasury yields over the last month due to higher inflation expectations and the possible end to cheap money has unsettled investors at a delicate phase in the global recovery. “Sentiment may remain choppy as the market continues to digest the higher U.S. Treasury yield environment,” analysts at OCBC said. “Nevertheless, given the underlying vaccination progress and monetary support, the bias remains for the risk-on default to persist in the longer-term.” Malaysian shares, which were dragged lower on Monday by glove makers, rose 0.4%, while in Mumbai and Manila , they rose more than half a percent each. In China, blue-chip stocks fell as much as 2.1%, while Shanghai’ Composite index was down 1.3%. The yuan was marginally lower. The country’s top banking regulator said it was looking into ways to manage capital inflows to prevent risk of bubbles, noting the high levels markets in Europe and the United States are trading at. Alterations to the policy of China, the world’s second-largest economy, will be known on Friday when it begins an annual session of its parliament. It is expected to chart a course for economic recovery and unveil a five-year plan. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields unchanged at 6.59% ** Philippines reports first cases of COVID-19 South African variant Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0637 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDEX STOCKS STOCKS DAILY % YTD % DAILY % YTD % Japan -0.07 -3.35 -0.86 7.16 China -0.07 +0.87 -1.29 0.93 India +0.27 -0.37 0.59 6.20 Indonesia -0.14 -1.61 0.08 6.10 Malaysia +0.05 -0.81 0.40 -3.31 Philippines +0.02 -1.09 0.68 -3.08 S.Korea -0.04 -3.36 1.03 5.93 Singapore -0.31 -0.81 0.41 4.97 Taiwan +1.54 +2.17 -0.04 8.24 Thailand -0.26 -1.19 0.34 3.91 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Uttaresh.V)

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