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EM ASIA FX-Asian units rise as Trump's comments hit dollar; baht outperforms

* EM FX Asia extend gains as dollar softens

* Thai baht touches a 2-month high

* Dollar down after Trump raps Fed rate hikes

* Indian rupee, S. Korean won sustain gains

(Adds text, updates prices)

By Ambar Warrick

Aug 21 (Reuters) - Nearly all emerging Asian currencies

firmed on Tuesday, with the Thai baht strengthening the most, as

criticism of Federal Reserve rate hikes by U.S. President Donald

Trump dented the dollar.

Trump said he was "not thrilled" with Federal Reserve

Chairman Jerome Powell for raising interest rates, and that the

central bank should help him boost the economy.

The dollar's slip came before anticipated talks between the

United States and China, which many believe might ease trade

disputes.

"In the interim, there's not likely to be any trade related

negative headlines, and that's why we're seeing the dollar

softening," said Chang Wei Liang, FX strategist at Mizuho Bank.

"It's probably too early to say that the dollar will be

easing dramatically from here but for now it does appear that

the news flow is a bit more supportive of an interim

retracement."

Risk appetites have been lifted ahead of the Sino-U.S. trade

negotiations, meaning some Asian currencies saw stronger

inflows. The fact that Turkish markets are closed for much of

the week also helped stability, after fears of contagion from

the lira's collapse caused large sell-offs last week.

The Thai baht shot up as much as 0.8 percent

against the dollar.

The Malaysian ringgit and the Chinese yuan

also rose. China and Malaysia signed a memorandum of

understanding on a bilateral currency swap agreement on Monday.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad also said he

believed China would sympathise with his country's "internal

fiscal problems" as he seeks to renegotiate, or possibly cancel,

more than $20 billion in Chinese-funded projects.

Philippine markets were closed for a holiday, and the peso

edged lower in very muted trade.

THAI BAHT

The Thai baht outperformed, touching a two-month high

against the dollar.

Thailand's GDP expanded at a slower pace in the second

quarter, but the state planning agency kept its economic growth

forecast for the year and also raised its exports projection.

Chang of Mizuho called the Q2 growth number "pretty good" as

a moderation was expected.

"Markets are reacting to the sustained growth momentum that

we've seen in Q2, and if that carries on to the second half,

then its very likely that the Bank of Thailand will be confident

enough to begin normalising monetary policy," he added.

The central bank governor said on Monday Thailand cannot

buck the global policy tightening trend but any interest rate

hike will be gradual.

He added that the need to continue "very accommodative"

monetary policy was lessening, but the timing of a rate hike

will be decided by the monetary policy committee.

Thailand's benchmark rate has been kept at 1.50 percent

since April 2015.

The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against

the dollar as at 0514 GMT.

CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR

Change on the day

Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move

Japan yen 110.070 110.06 -0.01

Sing dlr 1.367 1.3687 +0.15

Taiwan dlr 30.702 30.760 +0.19

Korean won 1118.100 1123.1 +0.45

Baht 32.760 33.01 +0.76

Peso 53.307 53.3 -0.01

Rupiah 14575.000 14585 +0.07

Rupee 69.550 69.82 +0.39

Ringgit 4.092 4.099 +0.17

Yuan 6.841 6.8640 +0.34

Change so far in 2018

Currency Latest bid End 2017 Pct Move

Japan yen 110.070 112.67 +2.36

Sing dlr 1.367 1.3373 -2.14

Taiwan dlr 30.702 29.848 -2.78

Korean won 1118.100 1070.50 -4.26

Baht 32.760 32.58 -0.55

Peso 53.307 49.93 -6.34

Rupiah 14575.000 13565 -6.93

Rupee 69.550 63.87 -8.17

Ringgit 4.092 4.0440 -1.17

Yuan 6.841 6.5069 -4.88

(Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru)