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EMERGING MARKETS-Asia stocks, currencies rise on U.S. stimulus hopes

    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
    * Singapore sees biggest jump in over 1 month
    * Philippine central bank likely to keep rates unchanged
later
    * Palm oil producers in Malaysia fall

    Oct 1 (Reuters) - Singapore's best day in over a month led
gains for Asian stock markets and currencies in holiday-thinned
trade on Thursday, as the mood among investors globally was
bolstered by signs of progress overnight on a U.S. fiscal
stimulus.
    A slew of holidays saw markets in China, South Korea, Taiwan
and Hong Kong closed, while technical glitches in Tokyo prompted
the bourse to suspend trading for the day.

    Singapore stocks climbed as much as 1.5%, their
biggest jump since mid-August, with a change at the top of
Singapore Telecommunications (Singtel) sending its
shares nearly 3% higher.
    The other big gainer was Indonesia, hammered in the
past month by coronavirus concerns and worries over the
government's moves on the central bank. Shares there rose 0.9%.
    "Global risk appetite benefited from positive noises around
a stimulus deal from Washington," Stephen Innes, chief global
market strategist at Axi, said in a note.
    U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker
Nancy Pelosi said on Wednesday that progress was being made on a
$2.2 trillion relief plan, supporting late gains on Wall Street.

    The news also helped send the dollar, by far investors'
favourite safe haven from the past month's renewed coronavirus
outbreaks, to a one-week low, bolstering currencies across the
region. 
    Trade data from South Korea, showing exports rising for the
first time in seven months in September, also added to positive
signals from the Chinese economy earlier in the week.
 
    The day's main set piece regionally is a Philippine central
bank meeting that is expected to keep interest rates unchanged
at a record low of 2.25%, following 175 basis points in cuts
this year.
    The peso was little changed, while stocks
gained around half a percent. 
    "Market players have priced in a pause," said Nicholas Mapa,
a senior Philippine economist at ING. He said markets were
looking at the $11 billion in fresh liquidity the government has
asked the central bank to support.
    "In terms of liquidity, it'll add more funds into the system
for the duration of the repurchase agreement but will not likely
lead to upward pressure on rates given that it's a deal directly
with the central bank," he added.
    Malaysian stocks bucked the trend, falling 0.7% with
a sharp drop coming from palm oil producer FGV Holdings Bhd
 after the United States banned imports from the
company over allegations it uses forced labour.
    Rival producer Sime Darby Plantation also fell
more than 3%. 
    
    HIGHLIGHTS: 
    ** FGV Holdings slid 9.6% on news of the U.S. ban
 
    ** Philippine 10-year benchmark yield is unchanged at 3%   
    ** Singtel appointed an insider as its new group CEO amid a
challenging time for the industry, saying its current chief will
retire in January after 13 years at the helm
           Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0347 GMT
 COUNTRY      FX RIC      FX       FX     INDEX    STOCKS   STOCKS
                          DAILY %  YTD %           DAILY %  YTD %
 Japan                       0.00  +3.00              0.00   -1.99
 China                          -  +2.42                 -    5.51
 India                       0.00  -3.23              0.00   -7.57
 Indonesia                  +0.13  -6.34              0.88  -22.01
 Malaysia                   +0.19  -1.35             -0.73   -5.97
 Philippines                -0.05  +4.44              0.54  -24.56
 S.Korea                        -  -1.12                 -    5.93
 Singapore                  +0.14  -1.39              1.36  -22.43
 Taiwan                         -  +3.36                 -    4.32
 Thailand                   +0.19  -5.29              0.21  -21.54
 
 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by
Raju Gopalakrishnan)
  
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