* Most Asian currencies fall
* Indonesian rupiah hits lowest in more than nine months
* Markets in China re-open after week-long holiday

By John Biju
       Oct 9 (Reuters) - Most Asian emerging market currencies
retreated on Monday, as the dollar strengthened on uncertainty
over weekend conflict in the Middle East that pushed up oil
prices while strong U.S. jobs boosted prospects for interest
rates to stay higher for longer. 
    The currencies of net oil importers Indonesia and
Thailand fell 0.7% and 0.4% respectively. The rupiah
hit its lowest since late December while the baht was heading
for its worst day in a week. 
    Investors were risk-averse after Israel pounded the
Palestinian enclave of Gaza on Sunday, killing hundreds as it
retaliated for one of the bloodiest attacks in its history after
Islamist group Hamas killed 700 Israelis and abducted dozens. 
    Rather than markets being roiled by war risks, however, the
price action suggests more measured oil consequences seeping in,
Vishnu Varathan, head of Asia economics and strategy at Mizuho
Bank wrote in a note.    
    "A slightly stronger U.S. dollar open concedes to underlying
precaution with regard to the Israel-Hamas war, but not outright
panic," he added.
    The political uncertainty has pushed up oil prices more than
$4 a barrel, creating additional inflationary pressure for key
importers such as India, Indonesia and Thailand. 
    Thailand's baht has been already under pressure recently
because of the policies of the new government, which has raised
concern about a widening fiscal deficit from higher spending. 
    Friday's strong U.S. employment report blew past
expectations, increasing by the most in eight months in
September, adding to the case that the Federal Reserve might
have to raise interest rates again. 
    "Overall, on a relative basis, the United States still looks
much more resilient than the rest of the world at this moment,"
said Michael Wan, senior currency analyst at MUFG Bank. 
    "With U.S. yields still elevated and Asian exports not
rising strong, this adds further to U.S. dollar strength and
potential weakness in Asian currencies in the near term."
    The South Korean won depreciated 0.6%, on track for
its worst day since Sept 26. The Singapore dollar and
Malaysian ringgit retreated 0.2% each, while the
Philippine peso depreciated 0.3%. 
    Bucking the trend, the Chinese yuan advanced 0.2%
after opening from a week-long holiday. Chinese shares
slid 0.7%. 
    Equities were mixed, with benchmark indexes in Thailand
 and Singapore falling 0.9% and 0.2% respectively,
as equities in Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta jumped
0.2% each.
    Markets now await a monetary policy decision from the
Singapore central bank and inflation data from India and China
later in the week. 
    ** Thai 10-year benchmark yields rise 1 basis
point to 3.37%
    ** Israeli shekel falls to almost 8-year low
    ** Japan likely won't intervene to reverse yen downtrend -
ex-top FX diplomat

  Asia stock indexes and                             
 currencies at 0331 GMT                         
                     DAILY  YTD %     X      S  S YTD
                         %               DAILY      %
 Japan               +0.10  -12.1  <.N2  -0.26  18.78
                                1  25>          
 China                           EC>          
 India               +0.03  -0.60  <.NS   0.00   8.55
 Indones             -0.38  -0.64  <.JK   0.24   0.80
 ia                                SE>          
 Malaysi             -0.21  -6.78  <.KL   0.16  -5.10
 a                                 SE>          
 Philipp             -0.31  -2.08  <.PS  -0.15  -4.81
 ines                              I>           
 S.Korea             -0.55  -6.74  <.KS   0.21   7.71
 Singapo             -0.19  -2.03  <.ST  -0.18  -2.54
 re                                I>           
 Taiwan                  -  -4.65  <.TW      -  16.85
 Thailan             -0.66  -6.83  <.SE  -0.90  -14.5
 d                                 TI>              7

 (Reporting by John Biju in Bengaluru; Editing by Clarence