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REFILE-EMERGING MARKETS-Thai baht touches 3-week high on relief anti-govt protests pass off peacefully

 (Fixes byline)
    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
    * Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks tmsnrt.rs/3lKhL5I
    * Indonesian rupiah up
    * Thai parliament passes $106 bln bill

    By Anushka Trivedi
    Sept 21 (Reuters) - The Thai baht firmed to a three-week
high on Monday, gaining along with most Asian currencies against
a subdued dollar, while drawing relief from an anti-government
protest passing off peacefully at the weekend.
    At the biggest demonstration in years, tens of thousands of
protesters on Saturday cheered calls for reform of the monarchy
as well as for the removal of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha,
a former junta leader, and a new constitution and elections.

    "There was a lot of anxiety going into the weekend", said
Kobsidthi Silpachai, head of capital markets research at
Kasikornbank, adding that relief that that there was no violence
gave "some impetus for the markets to strengthen this morning." 
    The baht gained 0.4%, marking its best day since
Sept. 1, while local stocks also rose.
    Also lending support was the country's parliament passing a
$106 billion budget bill on Friday for fiscal 2021 to revive
Southeast Asia's second-largest economy from a collapse in
tourism and exports due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    The Thai central bank meeting due on Wednesday, Governor
Veerathai Santiprabhob's last, is expected to leave rates
unchanged at record low of 0.5%, Silpachai said. 
    Other Asian currencies firmed too.
    Indonesia's rupiah extended Friday's gains, rising
0.4% to its highest level since Sept 2. 
    The currency has been pressured this month by concerns over
rising coronavirus cases and mooted changes to the central bank
law, which could threaten its independence, but a decision last
week to keep interest rates steady seems to have settled some of
the jitters.
    S&P Global signalled on Friday that Indonesia should handle
any changes to the central bank law carefully to prevent any
pressure on its markets and sovereign rating. 
    Stock markets across the region were rangebound, as a spike
in coronavirus cases locally and in Europe put a dampener on
global sentiment. 
    Risks of increased military tensions between the United
States and China as some Washington officials visited Taiwan
last week also added to concerns.
     "This dimension of military tensions are sobering reminders
that any dial back in U.S.-China tensions on the trade or
commercial front may be no more than temporary relief", Riki
Ogawa of Mizuho Bank said in a note.
    Philippine stocks dipped 0.4% to lead losses, with
consumer stocks weighing on the index. 
    On Sunday, the country's confirmed infections in the country
had swelled to 286,743, still the highest in the region.

    
   HIGHLIGHTS
    
   ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are down 4
basis points at 6.874%
    ** In the Philippines, top index losers are Ayala Land Inc
 down 2.1% and Puregold Price Club Inc down
1.97%
    ** Top gainers on the Thailand's SETI include
Hitachi Chemical Storage Battery (Thailand) PCL BAT-3K.BK up
14.67%, Apex Development PCL up ​14.29% 
    
    
 Asia stock indexes and currencies at  0408                                
 GMT                                                            
 COUNTRY    FX RIC      FX DAILY %  FX YTD %    INDEX   STOCKS   STOCKS YTD
                                                       DAILY %            %
 Japan                       +0.26     +4.15              0.00     0.29
 China                       +0.19     +3.05             -0.41         8.99
 India                       +0.00     -2.81              0.10        -5.36
 Indonesia                   +0.41     -5.39             -0.19       -19.84
 Malaysia                    +0.10     -0.46             -0.04        -5.20
 Philippin                   +0.26     +4.79             -0.38       -24.68
 es                                                             
 S.Korea                     -0.03     -0.36             -0.20         9.55
 Singapore                   +0.39     -0.72              0.24       -22.31
 Taiwan                      +0.70     +3.99             -0.36         6.93
 Thailand                    +0.39     -3.52              0.35       -18.16
 























 (Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru)
  
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