By Savyata Mishra
Jan 5 (Reuters) - The Thai baht rose for a fifth straight session amid weak emerging Asian currencies on Thursday as the dollar seesawed after the U.S. Federal Reserve warned against market bets on interest rate cuts this year, while regional equities firmed.
The baht THB=TH climbed 0.3% against the dollar, as the currency of the oil importing nation was supported by a drop in crude oil prices overnight and upside from China's re-opening expectations on the tourism-reliant economy.
Oil prices tumbled 5.2% overnight on demand worries but rebounded in early Asian hours as investors took advantage of the declines to buy.
China's partial easing of the coal import ban on Australia knocked Indonesian stocks .JKSE down nearly 2%, their biggest drop since Dec. 8.
Fakhrul Fulvian, chief economist at Trimegah Securities, said the resumption could lead to lower prices for the commodity that will pressure Indonesia's current account.
The rupiah IDR= was down 0.2%.
The Philippine peso PHP= pared early losses to trade 0.1% lower, similar to moves in Malaysia's ringgit MYR= and the Singaporean dollar SGD=.
The Philippine central bank said it was ready to take further policy action to tackle inflation, which hit a 14-year high in December, data showed on Thursday.
"Inflation came in slightly lower than expected which could leave the door open for a less aggressive rate hike path this year," said Nicholas Mapa, a senior economist at ING.
"It seems the market is anticipating a stronger-than-expected 4Q GDP print ... outweighing the fact that more rate hikes may be needed in the coming months to help rein in inflation," said Carlo Asuncion, a chief economist at the Union Bank of the Philippines.
The dollar =USD was wobbly after the minutes of the Fed's December policy meeting showed officials remained focused on curbing inflation.
A survey report showed the U.S. labor market remained tight which could further fuel bets on rate hikes to a higher level than currently anticipated.
Still, China's yuan CNY=CFXS and Japan's yen JPY= rose 0.2% each.
Asian equities were on a stronger footing, in line with broader markets as investors continued to bank on hopes for China's emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic, with Singapore's stocks .STI leading gains.
The Straits Times index rose 1.6% to notch its best intraday session since Nov. 11, driven by gains in consumer and financial firms.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS rose 1% to touch a four-month high in morning trade.
Seoul stocks .KS11 rose 0.5%, with online service providers leading the gains.
Shares in Malaysia .KLSE were up 0.5%, while those in Philippines .PSI rose 0.4%.
Thai stocks .SETI were down 0.2% after the country's headline consumer price index came in above the previous month due to higher energy and food prices.
** Thailand's pace of headline CPI pace was well above the central bank's target range reinforcing expectations that the central bank will raise its key interest rate at its next meeting on Jan. 25
** South Korean shares rose for a second session on Thursday, in line with global markets after the U.S. Federal Reserve's December-meeting minutes
** China's state planner has allowed three central government-backed utilities and its top steelmaker to resume coal imports from Australia
Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0840 GMT
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Graphic: World FX rates https://tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E
Asian stock marketshttps://tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4
(Reporting by Savyata Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)
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