July 23, 2020 / 7:47 AM / 13 days ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Philippine stocks near 2-month low, rupiah recovers

    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
    * Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks tmsnrt.rs/3f2vwbA
    * Philippine stocks hit lowest since June 1
    * Singapore shares climb 1%
    * U.S.-China worries cap broader view

    By Shashwat Awasthi
    July 23 (Reuters) - Philippine shares fell for the third straight session on Thursday as
domestic coronavirus cases topped 1,000 for a seventh successive day and renewed U.S.-China
tensions weighed on a number of emerging Asian markets.
    Stock markets in Taiwan and South Korea tracked a roughly half percent fall
in Shanghai shares after Beijing on Wednesday called the shutdown of its Houston consulate an
"unprecedented escalation" of tensions with the United States.
    Seoul shares also weakened as the country slid into recession in the second quarter.
    Indonesia was among those bucking the trend, however, with the rupiah recouping more of last
week's hefty losses against a shaky U.S. dollar.
    Manila's benchmark index, the region's biggest laggard this year, sank as much as
2.4% before recovering some ground to end 0.6% lower as worries about its COVID-19 outbreak
continued to grow.
    Chinese state media on Thursday cast the events in Houston as an attempt to blame Beijing
for U.S. failures ahead of the November presidential election but many traders still expect the
country to retaliate.
    "While investors had been shrugging off earlier aggravation on Hong Kong and more, the
shuttering of foreign consulates perhaps opens up a new front for U.S.-China tensions," said IG
market strategist Jingyi Pan.
    Among currencies, the rupiah rose 0.7% to its strongest level this week, gaining for
a third straight day despite a record increase in new virus cases on Wednesday.
    Southeast Asia's worst performing currency so far this year had lost more than 2% last week
after Bank Indonesia cut interest rates for a fourth time this year and COVID-19 infections
continued to multiply.
    Jakarta stocks advanced 0.7% to their highest since March 11.
    In tourism-reliant Thailand, where a swathe of cabinet resignations this month has stoked
political and economic uncertainty, the baht and stocks eased.
    The central bank on Thursday denied intervening in the currency market to strengthen
exporters' competitive edge and dismissed a media report that Thailand could be added to a U.S.
watch list for currency manipulation as speculation.
    Singapore stocks bounced after losses on Wednesday to add 1%.
    
    
    HIGHLIGHTS:
    
    ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are down 5.7 basis points at 6.935%
    ** Top gainers on the Jakarta stock index include Indofarma Tbk up 25%,
Phapros Tbk up 24.92% and Kimia Farma Tbk up ​24.77%
    ** Top gainers on the Singapore STI include Mapletree Logistics Trust up
5.42%, Mapletree Industrial Trust up 4.71% and Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust
 up 4.49%
    
        
  Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0650 GMT                                           
   COUNTRY      FX RIC    FX DAILY %    FX YTD %     INDEX    STOCKS DAILY %  STOCKS YTD %
    Japan                   +0.05        +1.42                    -0.58          -3.83
    China                   +0.06        -0.45                    -0.59           8.63
    India                   -0.18        -4.49                     0.64          -7.93
  Indonesia                 +0.65        -4.51                     0.66          -18.34
  Malaysia                  -0.07        -3.79                     0.72           0.61
 Philippines                -0.02        +2.63                    -0.58          -22.86
  S. Korea                  -0.17        -3.42                    -0.56           0.84
  Singapore                 +0.20        -2.76                     0.94          -18.74
   Taiwan                   +0.40        +2.37                    -0.48           3.47
  Thailand                  -0.06        -5.41                    -0.12          -14.21
 
 (Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi and Pranav A K in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
  
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