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EMERGING MARKETS-Yuan anchors Asian FX as caution spikes ahead of U.S. election

    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
    * Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks tmsnrt.rs/3lKhL5I
    * Yuan rises nearly 0.5% on China's new 5-year plan
    * South Korean won top gainer for October, up 3%
    * Philippine stocks end with near 8% monthly gain
    * Malaysia cenbank meet, 2021 budget in focus next week
    * Indian and Indonesian forex markets shut due to local
holidays

    By Rashmi Ashok
    Oct 30 (Reuters) - Strong gains in the Chinese yuan
supported most Asian currencies on Friday, shielding them from a
broader gloomy mood weighing on regional equities ahead of the
U.S. presidential election.
    Worries about the outcome of Tuesday's election have
remained at the fore, given the stark difference between
Democratic candidate Joe Biden and President Donald Trump's
views on foreign policy and trade, particularly towards Asia.
    The yuan jumped 0.5% against the dollar after
China's leaders endorsed a new five-year plan to drive sustained
economic growth, which markets believe will require a stronger
currency.  
    That helped boost the closely tied Singapore dollar
by 0.2%, while the Thai baht rose by a similar margin.
    While cases are surging elsewhere, the COVID-19 situation in
Asia remains largely under control, with China's swift economic
recovery driving the resilience of the yuan and other Asian
currencies, said Sim Moh Siong, FX strategist at Bank of
Singapore.
    "The second factor is the U.S. elections. If Biden wins, and
polls are indicating he's in the lead, it could lead to a less
aggressive trade policy, further anchoring the yuan," he added.
    "For Asia, overall, the risk environment is going to be
cautious, but there's no panic."
    The region's equities were subdued after Wall Street's
sell-off as cases continued to surge in the United States, while
fears of more lockdowns across Europe, following France and
Germany's moves this week, also dented the mood. 
    For October, most Asian currencies were set to end higher,
with the South Korean won logging its best monthly
performance since June 2019, with a 3% gain.
    Most stock markets, however, were set to end the month with
losses. The Thai index was on track for a 3.4% drop
sparked by political ructions and protests.
    Philippines' equities, in contrast, breezed past
peers with an 8% gain, as a the gradual reopening of the economy
and upbeat COVID-19 case trends spurred investor confidence.
    In the week ahead, the focus will turn to Malaysia's central
bank policy meeting on Tuesday, followed by the government's
2021 budget presentation on Friday.
    The latter is seen as a key test to gauge support the prime
minister wields amid recent political tensions, with fears
prevalent that the budget bill might not get through parliament
given the slim coalition majority his government holds.
    The Indian currency market was shut on Friday for a local
holiday, while in Indonesia, both equities and forex markets
were closed.

    HIGHLIGHTS
    ** In the Philippines, top index gainers were Aboitiz Equity
Ventures Inc, up 5.82%, and JG Summit Holdings Inc
, up 3.71%.
    ** Top losers on the Singapore index include UOL
Group Ltd, down 3.72%, and Ascendas Real Estate
Investment Trust, down 3.33%.
    ** Singapore's 10-year benchmark yield is down 0.2 basis
point at 0.831%​​ and the 5-year benchmark yield is up 0.2 basis
point at 0.498%​​ 
    

  Asia stock indexes and                               
 currencies at   0650 GMT                         
 COUNTRY  FX RIC       FX     FX    INDEX  STOCK  STOCK
                    DAILY  YTD %               S  S YTD
                        %                  DAILY      %
                                               %  
 Japan              +0.29  +4.12           -1.52  -2.87
 China    <CNY=CFX  +0.33  +4.02           -1.61   5.57
          S>                                      
 Malaysi            -0.10  -1.66           -1.23  -7.05
 a                                                
 Philipp            -0.04  +4.66            1.19  -19.0
 ines                                                 8
 S.Korea  <KRW=KFT  -0.33  +1.88           -2.56   3.16
          C>                                      
 Singapo            +0.10  -1.55           -1.00  -24.7
 re                                                   2
 Taiwan             +1.05  +5.21           -0.92   4.58
 Thailan            +0.16  -4.10           -0.57  -24.3
 d                                                    7
 

 (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)
  
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