EMERGING MARKETS-Indonesia's rupiah drops, shares rise after rate cut

    * Graphic: World FX rates
    * Bank Indonesia cuts rates by 25 bps 
    * Rupiah down 0.7% 
    * Philippine central bank cuts rates by 25 bps
    * South Korea, Thai central bank intervene to stem currency

    Nov 19 (Reuters) - Indonesia's rupiah fell more than half a
percent and shares gained as the country's central bank cut
rates to support its economic recovery, while Asian stock
markets struggled for traction on rising COVID-19 cases and
    Singapore and South Korea pared losses over
the day, although Asia's emerging markets drifted as the world
struggles to keep a lid on infections.  
    Bank Indonesia (BI) cut its seven-day reverse repurchase
rate by 25 basis points to 3.75%, the lowest since
BI began using the instrument as its benchmark in 2016, defying
a majority of economists who predicted no change in policy.

    However, markets were divided through the morning leading up
to the central bank's decision, on expectations that BI may look
to stem the rupiah's recent strong gains over November to
support the economy out of a recession.
    "Our forecast is that the rupiah will stabilise over the
coming months, helped by a shrinking current account deficit,
low inflation and an improvement in global risk appetite,"
Capital Economics, who predicted a cut, said in a note after the
    Indonesia's high-yielding debt is a favourite of foreign
investors. The yield on the benchmark 10-year bonds
was unmoved after the decision. 
     The Philippine central bank unexpectedly cut its policy
rates by 25 basis points to guide the country's economy through
the coronavirus crisis.
    The peso closed slightly lower, and stocks in Manila
 tracked the broader fall in risk appetite.
    Broadly, currencies in the region were weaker. South Korea's
won slid 1% after dealers told Reuters the central
bank was suspected of buying dollars on Thursday to stem gains.

    Fresh from Wednesday's warning of the Thai baht's
strength and its impact on exports, the central bank said it had
intervened in the market. The currency dipped 0.2%.
    Recent vaccine news from Pfizer and Moderna
, while triggering initial market boosts, have done
little to assuage investors' concerns that the new wave of
COVID-19 cases would dent any momentum for a global economic
    DBS analysts said emerging Asian currencies are unlikely to
be spared from traders looking to cover their shorts, as
"investors have found it increasingly difficult to extend the
euphoria from the US elections and vaccine hopes."
    ** Indonesian 3-year benchmark yields fell 1.7 basis points
to 4.908%
    ** Hong Leong Bank Bhd and Public Bank Bhd
 led losses in Malaysian financials 
    ** Tokyo raises coronavirus alert for infections to highest
            Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0740 GMT
 COUNTRY      FX RIC      FX       FX      INDEX    STOCKS   STOCKS
                          DAILY %  YTD %            DAILY %  YTD %
 Japan                    +0.01    +4.61            -0.36    8.36
 China                    -0.20    +5.95            0.47     10.26
 India                    -0.10    -3.89            -0.08    6.24
 Indonesia                -0.71    -1.91            0.54     -11.30
 Malaysia                 -0.18    -0.09            -1.11    -0.11
 Philippines              -0.09    +4.90            -0.77    -10.46
 S.Korea                  -1.06    +3.66            0.07     15.91
 Singapore                -0.16    +0.03            0.01     -13.47
 Taiwan                   +0.89    +5.62            -0.37    14.38
 Thailand                 -0.20    -1.48            0.53     -13.17
 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim
Coghill and Ramakrishan M.)