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EMERGING MARKETS-Philippine shares jump to 9-month high, Thai baht edges up

 (Repeats for wider distribution. No change to text.)
    * Graphic: Asia current accounts tmsnrt.rs/3kNEAn5 
    * Thai central bank announces measures to contain the baht's
rise
    * Indonesia, Philippine central banks cut rates on Thursday
    * Rupiah dips after rate cut

    By Nikhil Nainan
    Nov 20 (Reuters) - Philippine shares hit a nine-month high
on Friday after a surprise interest rate cut while the Thai baht
gained, defying central bank measures to nip a recent rally that
is seen threatening the southeast Asian nation's economic
recovery.
    Equity markets across Asia were broadly higher with
Singapore up 0.8% as investors look to the region's
relative success in controlling the pandemic to fuel its
economic recovery.
    That success and recent vaccine news from Pfizer and
Moderna have supported stocks in Asia's emerging
markets, with most set to post weekly gains of over 2%.
    The Thai baht edged 0.3% higher, even as the
central bank sought to rein in the currency, which has
strengthened nearly 3% so far this month and poses a concern for
the tourism and trade reliant economy.
    Separately, the Bank of Thailand announced new rules that
would let Thais freely hold and transfer foreign currency
deposits and to directly invest more in overseas securities.

    On Thursday, the Philippine central bank surprised markets
with a 25 basis points interest rate cut to a new low of 2.0% as
the country's economy struggles with the pressure of 
coronavirus.
    "Loose monetary policy could be good for stock valuations
and could drive a further rally for local bond yields," said
Jennifer Lomboy, a fixed income fund manager at First Metro
Asset in Manila.
    Stocks rose 1.8% to a late-February high, while the
peso advanced 0.1%. 
    Another surprise cut on Thursday came from Bank Indonesia,
who also cut rates by 25 basis points to 3.75%, dimming the
appeal of its high-yielding local bond market.
    The central bank governor said the rupiah, which dipped 0.2%
on Friday, is still undervalued. The currency has been one of
the outperformers in Asia's emerging market space, climbing over
3% this month.
    "We expect a possible rate cut in the near-term for as long
as the rupiah remains on its current appreciation bias," said
Nicholas Mapa, a senior economist at ING.
    The improving appetite for risk this month on vaccine news
and Joe Biden winning the U.S. presidential election has boosted
sentiment across asset classes in the region, but with COVID-19
cases rising and restrictions following suit, hopes for a quick
global recovery is fading.
    OCBC Bank analysts said in a note that they expect "the
downward drift to resume after a period of consolidation."
    Overnight, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called for
an end to coronavirus pandemic relief for struggling businesses,
and DBS expects more short-covering into the weekend as appetite
for emerging Asian currencies dwindle.
    
    HIGHLIGHTS: 
    ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields up 3 basis points to
6.208%
    ** Top index gainers in the Philippines are San Miguel Corp
, GT Capital Holdings Inc and BDO Unibank Inc

    ** COMMENT-Mnuchin's move is risk-negative, but no reason to
buy USD        
           Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0405 GMT
 COUNTRY      FX RIC      FX       FX     INDEX    STOCKS   STOCKS
                          DAILY %  YTD %           DAILY %  YTD %
 Japan                    -0.10    +4.61           -0.65    7.65
 China                    +0.09    +5.87           0.10     10.37
 India                    +0.00    -3.88           0.57     5.56
 Indonesia                -0.21    -2.05           -0.05    -11.24
 Malaysia                 +0.24    +0.02           0.50     0.17
 Philippines              +0.12    +4.95           1.75     -8.89
 S.Korea                  +0.18    +3.84           -0.13    15.77
 Singapore                +0.09    +0.08           0.79     -13.15
 Taiwan                   +1.04    +5.56           0.01     14.39
 Thailand                 +0.30    -1.32           0.46     -12.92
 
 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam
Holmes)
  
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