June 23, 2020 / 8:46 AM / 13 days ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Asia in cautious mood as virus numbers spike

    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
    * Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks tmsnrt.rs/3f2vwbA
    * Philippines worst hit among Southeast Asian shares
    * Rupiah extends declines for a third straight day 

    By Shriya Ramakrishnan
    June 23 (Reuters) - Asia's emerging markets struggled to
gain ground on Tuesday as conflicting signals on the fate of the
U.S.-China trade deal added to rising concerns over a surge in
coronavirus cases globally.
    Both U.S. President Donald Trump and his trade adviser Peter
Navarro moved quickly to quell nerves due to comments Navarro
said were taken "wildly out of context" on the trade pact being
"over" overnight, pulling stock markets globally back into the
black.
    Yet while that helped the trade-sensitive South Korean won
 gain more than 0.5%, and pulled Singapore shares
 back from a 1.7% loss, the mood remained shaky at best.
    Philippine stocks were the worst hit, while
Indonesian and Malaysian equities also fell 0.5%
and 0.6% each. 
    The rupiah extended declines for a third straight day
as the country warned rising number of coronavirus cases in some
of its biggest provinces could increase pressure on economic
output.
    Global coronavirus cases surpassed 9 million on Monday, as
Brazil and India grappled with a surge in infections, and the
United States, China and other hard-hit countries reported new
outbreaks.
    "Political appetite for returning to lockdowns is certainly
lesser now, given the economic damage they entail," said Wei
Liang Chang, a macro strategist at DBS Bank.
    "Risks of another lockdown should not be discounted,
(however) with the Beijing outbreak showing how quickly the
disease can return."
    In Thailand, the baht ticked up ahead of a central
bank meeting on Wednesday, while its stock market also
recovered after a steep selloff in the previous session.
    A majority of analysts polled by Reuters expect Bank of
Thailand to leave its key interest rate unchanged at a record
low after easing policy three times this year.
    Indian shares once again stood out with a 1% gain, with data
showing increased inflows from foreign investors, while the
rupee also strengthened.

  Asia stock indexes and                                       
 currencies at   0748 GMT                             
 COUNTRY    FX RIC   FX DAILY  FX YTD  INDEX  STOCKS     STOCKS
                            %       %          DAILY      YTD %
                                                   %  
 Japan                  -0.21   +1.41  <.N22   0.50     -4.68
                                       5>             
 China      <CNY=CF     +0.00   -1.48  <.SSE    0.18      -2.61
            XS>                        C>             
 India      <INR=IN     +0.37   -5.76  <.NSE    1.08     -14.35
            >                          I>             
 Indonesia              -0.46   -2.08  <.JKS   -0.52     -22.32
                                       E>             
 Malaysia               +0.05   -4.31  <.KLS   -0.63      -5.47
                                       E>             
 Philippin              -0.08   +1.00  <.PSI   -0.78     -19.42
 es                                    >              
 S.Korea    <KRW=KF     +0.58   -4.33  <.KS1    0.21      -3.02
            TC>                        1>             
 Singapore              +0.06   -3.38  <.STI    0.10     -18.32
                                       >              
 Taiwan     <TWD=TP     +0.11   +1.61  <.TWI    0.34      -3.21
            >                          I>             
 Thailand   <THB=TH     +0.13   -3.42  <.SET    0.57     -13.92
            >                          I>             
 
    

 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru, additional
reporting by Gaurav Dogra; editing by Uttaresh.V)
  
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