* Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh * Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks tmsnrt.rs/3f2vwbA * Philippine stocks edge higher, senate passes stimulus package * Singapore Q2 jobless rate hits new decade-high of 2.9% By Rashmi Ashok July 29 (Reuters) - Philippine stocks rose on Wednesday as news of the passing of a 140 billion peso ($2.85 billion) stimulus package by the country's Senate helped offset concerns about a possible tightening of coronavirus restrictions at the end of the month. While most Asian currency and stock markets traded in tight ranges ahead of the end of a U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting later in the day, both the Thai baht and Taiwan dollar extended recent gains against their U.S. counterpart. COVID-19 cases have been rising in a number of the region's emerging markets, but the Philippines has borne the brunt of investor reaction in recent weeks, with the main stocks index down nearly 5% so far this month and more than 23% for the year. A State of the Nation (SONA) address by President Rodrigo Duterte earlier this week failed to calm nerves, and investors now worry the country will have to weather another series of restrictions because of the virus before the crisis is resolved. "Anxiety is increasing over possibilities of the country reverting to a stricter quarantine," said Jennifer Lomboy, fund manager at First Metro Asset Management. "However, the market may get reprieve from news that the Senate has approved 140 billion peso Bayanihan II Act for economic recovery efforts following the orders of the President during his SONA," she added. After falling as much as 1%, Manila stocks were trading around 0.4% higher in late trade. Emerging markets continue to be propped up by the conviction that major central banks will have to keep a steady flow of new money flowing into the financial system in the months ahead to prevent a deeper economic depression. Data on Tuesday showed a plunge in U.S. consumer confidence in July, arguing against a quick economic recovery and in favour of an accommodative message on policy from the Fed that may strengthen stocks and other riskier assets further. The scale of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, as well as more tensions with China, have also kept the dollar on the retreat against a range of currencies. The Taiwan dollar strengthened as much as 0.8% in midday trade while the Thai baht added about 0.5%. Domestic data showed Singapore's jobless rate rose sharply in the second quarter to a new decade-high of 2.9%, as the COVID-19 pandemic saw employment shrink in the services and construction sector. Data from Thailand, which has been rocked this month by a series of resignations in the government's economic ministries, showed a manufacturing production index dropped 17.66% in June, less than expected. Thai stocks gained around 0.3%. HIGHLIGHTS ** Top gainers on the Thailand's SETI include Thai-German Products PCL up 16.67% and TWZ Corporation PCL adding 16.67% ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields were up 1 basis points at 6.858% while 3-year benchmark yields were down 1.8 basis points at 5.337% ASIAN STOCK INDEXES AND CURRENCIES AT 0508 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDEX STOCKS STOCKS DAILY YTD % DAILY YTD % % % Japan +0.03 +3.39 -1.09 -5.27 China <CNY=CFX -0.03 -0.58 1.05 6.94 S> India +0.01 -4.60 -0.28 -7.40 Indonesia -0.28 -4.41 -0.22 -19.01 Malaysia +0.07 -3.70 -1.14 0.18 Philippin -0.03 +2.95 0.66 -23.66 es S.Korea <KRW=KFT +0.16 -3.23 -0.07 2.63 C> Singapore +0.04 -2.45 -0.16 -19.98 Taiwan +0.62 +2.68 0.07 4.99 Thailand +0.54 -5.08 0.00 -15.13 ($1 = 49.2080 Philippine pesos) (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Pranav AK; Editing by Patrick Graham and Raju Gopalakrishnan)
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