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EMERGING MARKETS-Regional trade deal lifts Asia shares, currencies

    * 15 Asia-Pacific economies form world's largest free trade
bloc 
    * South Korea, Taiwan gain 2%
    * Singapore, China, Thailand up around 1% 
    * South Korean won hits near 2-year high against the dollar

    By Nikhil Nainan
    Nov 16 (Reuters) - South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore led
broader Asian stock market gains on Monday as 15 Asia-Pacific
economies signed a deal to form the world's largest free trade
bloc, bolstering expectations for the pace of future economic
growth. 
    With the mood also brightened by upbeat data from China and
Japan, Bangkok and Shanghai stocks both gained
around 1%, with the Thai market hitting a more than three-month
high.
    Over the weekend, Asia-Pacific economies signed a
China-backed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP),
which accounts for 30% of the global economy and excludes the
United States.
    The group aims to lower tariffs and may aid in the
post-pandemic recovery amid fractured relations between the
Washington and Beijing.
    "The reach and ambitions of the RCEP, looking to abolish
some 92% of traded goods tariffs, would be critical in deepening
supply-chain linkages," Mizuho Bank said in a note, adding that
hopes are "pinned on RCEP helping to catalyze the recovery in
global trade and commerce."
    Shares in Seoul and Taipei climbed 2%, while
rising over 1% in Singapore.
    Currencies of trade-dependent economies such as the
Taiwanese dollar and South Korean won marked
the biggest gains on the U.S. dollar, while Indonesia's rupiah
, a favourite in the region to access the high-yielding
local bond market, rose 0.2%.
    South Korea's finance ministry issued a warning on the won's
movement after it hit a near two-year high on the U.S. dollar.
Dealers said the central bank was suspected of buying dollars to
stem gains.
    Investors were buoyed by factory output in China rising
faster-than-expected in October, continuing on its recovery
path, while Japan's economy grew at the fastest pace on record
in the third quarter.
    Capital Economics said Thailand's GDP data on Monday showed
the worst is over for the tourism-reliant economy, but warned
its recovery will likely be one of the slowest in the region
given its reliance on foreign travellers. 
    The baht dipped 0.1% higher ahead of a central bank
policy meeting on Wednesday. 
    The week also houses policy meetings of the central bank's
of Indonesia and the Philippines on Thursday. 
    Markets in India were closed for a public holiday.
    
    HIGHLIGHTS:
    ** Indonesian three-year benchmark yields are up 7.5 basis
points to 4.992%
    ** Genting Singapore Ltd led gains in the
city-state; Morgan Stanley downgrades Singapore equities to
equal-weight
    ** Morgan Stanley also says China will outperform emerging
markets by less in 2021 than in 2020    
           Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0646 GMT
 COUNTRY      FX          FX       FX     INDEX    STOCKS   STOCKS 
              RIC         DAILY %  YTD %           DAILY %  YTD %
 Japan                    +0.08    +3.89           2.05     9.51
 China                    +0.39    +5.82           0.88     9.48
 India                    -        -4.32           -        5.03
 Indonesia                +0.18    -1.73           0.25     -13.09
 Malaysia                 +0.15    -0.61           0.24     0.30
 Philippines              +0.01    +5.16           -0.74    -11.48
 S.Korea                  +0.57    +4.25           1.97     15.71
 Singapore                +0.11    -0.09           1.38     -14.70
 Taiwan                   +1.22    +5.64           2.10     12.96
 Thailand                 -0.13    -0.99           0.97     -13.95
 
 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by
Lincoln Feast and Anil D'Silva)
  
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