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EMERGING MARKETS-Asian currencies ease after Trump tests positive for COVID-19

    * U.S. dollar edges higher after Trump tests positive
    * Malaysia stocks set to snap two straight weeks of gains
    * Palm oil stocks in Malaysia stage minor rebound 
    * India, China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan on holiday

    Oct 2 (Reuters) - Southeast Asia's currencies eased on
Friday with investors seeking safety in the U.S. dollar after
U.S. President Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19, while
hopes for further U.S. stimulus also waned.
    Trump said he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested
positive for COVID-19 and would immediately quarantine and begin
the "recovery process."
    The positive result raises the level of uncertainty ahead of
the U.S. elections in November.
    Appetite for riskier stocks was also overshadowed by
concerns that a plan to provide more relief to the U.S. economy
during the coronavirus outbreak would stall in the Senate, after
being approved by the U.S. House of Representatives.
 
    Stocks shed 0.9% in Singapore and 0.7% in Jakarta
 while stocks in Malaysia and the Philippines
 edged higher.
    Currencies in the region were largely weaker against the
dollar, with the rupiah, ringgit and
Singapore dollar all down around 0.2% versus the
greenback. 
    "It is prime time now for (the) U.S. election," said Jingyi
Pan, a senior market strategist at IG.
    "Should the President be absent during this period, that
could mean even more complications with the election."
    Trading volumes were thin in Asia with a host of places on
holiday this Friday including, India, China, South Korea, Hong
Kong and Taiwan.
    FGV Holdings and other Malaysian palm oil
producers rose on Friday after falling sharply in the previous
session, when the United States blocked the entry of FGV's palm
oil products into the country over allegations of forced labour.
Malaysia said it expected the United States to ban the imports
of another plantation firm.
    Sime Darby Plantation also flagged concern on
Friday about a possible ban. Its shares, however, were up after
falling more than 5% on Thursday. 
    Markets across the region, barring Thailand and
Malaysia, were slated to post weekly gains and the Philippines
 is set to snap two straight weeks of losses.
    The Philippine central bank kept rates unchanged on Thursday
as expected as it waits for prior monetary stimulus to filter
through the economy, but approved $11 billion in funds for the
government.
    Many analysts still expect a cut in the fourth quarter, with
Goldman Sachs saying further COVID-19 curbs in the capital
Manila is hurting third quarter growth outlook.

    HIGHLIGHTS: 
    ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are down 1.2 basis
points at 6.924%​​
    ** Malaysia expects U.S. import ban on second plantation
firm, after FGV barred
    ** Malaysia risks investment trouble as political drama
drags on
            Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0534 GMT
 COUNTRY      FX RIC      FX       FX      INDEX    STOCKS   STOCKS
                          DAILY %  YTD %            DAILY %  YTD %
 Japan                      +0.29   +3.25             -0.71   -2.69
 China                          -   +2.42                 -    5.51
 India                          -   -2.41                 -   -6.18
 Indonesia                  -0.20   -6.53             -0.73  -21.68
 Malaysia                   -0.24   -1.66              0.23   -5.58
 Philippines                -0.04   +4.50              0.92  -23.23
 S.Korea                        -   -1.12                 -    5.93
 Singapore                      -   -1.61                 -  -23.10
 Taiwan                         -   +3.36                 -    4.32
 Thailand                   -0.13   -5.44             -1.16  -21.95
 
    

 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Ana
Nicolaci da Costa)
  
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