*Feb trade balance- $23 bln, vs f'cast of+ $14.5 bln. BEIJING, March 8- China's exports unexpectedly tumbled in February, swinging the trade balance into deficit and adding to fears of a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy despite the Lunar New Year holidays being blamed for the slide.» Read More
*Euro tops $1.38 for first time this year. LONDON, Feb 28- European stocks reversed course and fell on Friday, and the euro rose to its highest level this year after an unchanged reading of euro zone inflation cooled growing expectations the European Central Bank could ease monetary policy as early as next week.
SHANGHAI, Feb 28- China's central bank delivered two major surprises to investors this week: it engineered a sharp decline in the yuan against the dollar and at the same time relaxed its tight grip on money markets that had kept interest rates firm.
LONDON, Feb 28- European stocks rose on Friday, supported by expectations a low reading of euro zone inflation later in the day will force the European Central Bank to ease monetary policy further and a record high close on Wall Street the previous session.
*Current account surplus $0.22 bln in Jan vs $2.53 bln surplus in Dec. BANGKOK, Feb 28- Thailand reported a fresh set of weak indicators on Friday, producing more evidence that the country's political crisis is hurting the economy and adding to pressure on the central bank to cut interest rates.
SHANGHAI/ HONG KONG, Feb 28- China fund managers suggested raising bond allocations to the highest in five months, while cutting back on equities to a 10- month low as a slowing economy stokes fears of credit defaults, according to a monthly Reuters poll. "I am concerned about worsening China macro data.
*Focus also on lingering tensions in Ukraine. *China's yuan may have biggest one-day loss. TOKYO/ SINGAPORE, Feb 28- The New Zealand dollar hit a seven-week high on Friday as an upbeat business survey underscored expectations for a rate hike next month, while the euro eased ahead of a closely-watched reading on euro zone inflation.
HONG KONG, Feb 28- China's yuan looks set for its biggest daily loss on record on Friday, as the central bank stepped up its intervention to weaken the currency ahead of a key government meeting next week which may be used as a platform to unveil more market reforms.
*Factory output rises at fastest pace in more than two years. TOKYO, Feb 28- Japan's factory output rose in January at the fastest pace in more than two years and core inflation hovered at five-year highs, suggesting the economy has enough momentum to withstand an expected hit from a sales tax hike scheduled for April.
Japan's economy is showing 'strong signs of improvements', says Amir Anvarzadeh, Director of Japan Equity Sales at BGC Securities Singapore, adding that fall in demand after April's tax hike will be shortlived.
Uwe Parpart, Managing Director, Head of Research at Reorient Financial Markets, says India needs to decide soon on whether it wants its economy to be market-driven or state-controlled.
*Factory output rises at fastest pace in more than two years. TOKYO, Feb 28- Japan's factory output rose in January at the fastest pace in more than two years and core inflation hovered near a five-year high, comforting signs for an economy expected take a hit from a sales tax hike scheduled for April.
NEW YORK- Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Narayana Kocherlakota and Federal Reserve Board Governor Jeremy Stein participates in panel to discuss report on interactions between monetary policy and financial stability before the University of Chicago Booth School of Business 2014 Monetary Policy Forum- 1515 GMT.
Alecia Quah, Senior Analyst, Asia-Pacific at IHS Country Risk, says Thailand could see more unrest if the anti-graft body issues charges against Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra for corruption on Thursday.
Kevin Snowball, CEO of PXP Vietnam Asset Management, discusses Vietnam's economic resilience to the Fed's taper and believes that the country's wobbly banking sector is improving.
LONDON, Feb 26- Gold prices rose above $1,340 on Wednesday, holding onto four-month highs on uncertainty over China's economic policy moves and with weaker data raising questions about the strength of the U.S. recovery.
Investors have poured back into the metal on worries about economic conditions in the United States and also China, which is now dealing with unprecedented growth in company debt. Gold had eased 0.13 percent to $1,338.41 an ounce by 0227 GMT, after rising to its strongest since October at $1,343.40 an ounce Tuesday in its fourth day of gains.
Rising Chinese exports may be helping to offset emerging signs of weakness across the broader Chinese economy. The FT reports.
BANGKOK, Feb 25- Thailand announced a slump in trade figures on Tuesday with the biggest drop in imports in more than four years in January, as months of anti-government protests extended their economic toll beyond falling tourism numbers.
Rob Subbaraman, Chief Economist, Asia ex-Japan, Nomura, says South Korean President Park Geun-hye's three-year economic plan suggests structural reforms that will promote long lasting growth.
Kelvin Tay, MD & Regional CIO, Southern APAC at UBS Wealth Management, explains why he thinks the outlook for emerging markets still remains lackluster.