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EMERGING MARKETS-Asian stocks, FX drop on virus woes; Singapore shares defy broader gloom

    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
    * Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks tmsnrt.rs/3lKhL5I
    * Singapore shares set for third consecutive weekly gain
    * S. Korean shares down for a fourth straight session 
    * Indonesia passes Philippines with most COVID-19 cases in
SE Asia

    By Shriya Ramakrishnan
    Oct 16 (Reuters) - Singapore shares rose on Friday as
exports from the city-state grew for the fourth straight month,
while caution prevailed across the rest of the region in a week
dominated by concerns over stalled COVID-19 vaccine trials and
fresh U.S. stimulus.
    Stocks and currencies across the region were hit by global
fears of surging coronavirus infections and a lack of progress
towards a U.S. fiscal stimulus deal, pulling money into the
dollar and other traditional safe havens for capital.
    South Korean shares were the worst hit, falling
nearly 1% while the won also came under pressure.
    In Indonesia, the rupiah dipped and its shares
dropped 0.7% as the country overtook the Philippines with the
highest coronavirus case numbers in Southeast Asia.
    "We are recommending low volatility equity strategies to our
clients, which should provide downside protection in drawdown
periods but also participate nicely in recovery phases," Sarah
Lien, client portfolio manager at Eastspring Investments said as
she pointed to upcoming U.S. elections, escalating U.S.-China
tensions, and the ongoing pandemic as key risks.
    "We are selective buyers, and have been adding to
interesting names related to 5G, semiconductors, consumer, real
estate and internet that should be long-term winners." 
    In Thailand, the baht dipped and shares
fell, as investors continued to keep a wary eye on political
developments.
    Scores of Thai protesters gathered at a commercial district
in central Bangkok on Thursday in defiance of an overnight ban
on protests aimed at ending three months of anti-government
activity.   
    The protests have targeted King Maha Vajiralongkorn as well
as Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former junta leader. 
    Singapore's FTSE Straits Times Index, which has
largely underperformed in the region so far this year, gained as
much as 0.9%, but a stronger greenback kept a lid on gains for
the Singapore dollar.
    Data released in early Asian trading hours showed
Singapore's non-oil domestic exports expanded for a fourth
consecutive month, rising 5.9% from a year earlier, driven by a
jump in shipments from its key electronics sector.
    Sentiment also improved on plans for the formation of a
travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore.
    "The establishment of a travel bubble with Hong Kong has
painted a silver lining for further border easing, which is
critical to Singapore's open economy," said Margaret Yang, a
strategist at DailyFX.
    
    HIGHLIGHTS:
    ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are down 1.7 basis
points at 6.8%
    ** Top gainers on the Singapore STI include
Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Holdings Ltd up 2.11% at
S$0.97, Venture Corporation Ltd up 2.1% at S$20.94,
UOL Group Ltd up ​1.63% at S$6.87
    ** Top losers on the Jakarta stock index include
Bank Rakyat Indonesia Agroniaga Tbk PT down 6.99% at
426 rupiah, Alumindo Light Metal Industry Tbk PT down
6.9% at 216 rupiah
    
    
     
  Asia stock indexes and                                     
 currencies at   0421 GMT                              
 COUNTRY   FX RIC         FX     FX      INDEX  STOCK  STOCKS
                       DAILY  YTD %                 S   YTD %
                           %                    DAILY  
                                                    %  
 Japan                 +0.19  +3.20             -0.22   -0.85
 China                 +0.07  +3.62             -0.28    8.94
 India                  0.00  -2.73              0.71   -3.33
 Indonesi              -0.20  -5.51             -0.66  -19.49
 a                                                     
 Malaysia              -0.02  -1.56             -0.20   -4.90
 Philippi              -0.07  +4.06             -0.29  -24.24
 nes                                                   
 S.Korea               -0.28  +0.87             -0.88    6.49
 Singapor              -0.09  -1.21              0.41  -21.38
 e                                                     
 Taiwan                +0.64  +4.63              0.07    7.00
 Thailand              -0.03  -4.20             -0.28  -21.55
 
 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by
Christopher Cushing)
  
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