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EMERGING MARKETS-Indonesian rupiah gains as market expects c.bank to hold rates

    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
    * Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks tmsnrt.rs/3f2vwbA
    * Philippine shares down on rising COVID-19 infections
    * Taiwan dollar, Indonesian rupiah lead gains among Asia FX

    By Shriya Ramakrishnan
    Aug 19 (Reuters) - Indonesia's rupiah rose as investors bet
the central bank would keep interest rates steady, helping to
hold on to the currency's comfortable yield advantage against
the U.S. dollar, while coronavirus concerns triggered selling in
Philippine assets.
    Currencies across Asia's emerging markets notched modest
gains, led by the Taiwanese dollar, as the greenback
came under pressure from doubts over the pace of a U.S. economic
recovery and the possibility of further fiscal stimulus.
    Wall Street's S&P 500 scaled all-time highs overnight, but
the mood across Asian stock markets was more downbeat, with
Chinese equities dipping 0.3% after a strong rally a day
earlier.
    Philippines shares and the peso suffered as
virus case numbers topped 3,000 for a seventh straight day.

    A strict lockdown in the capital Manila and nearby provinces
was eased on Monday to help struggling businesses, despite the
country having the highest number of infections in Southeast
Asia. 
    In Indonesia, the rupiah gained 0.4%, while shares
 fell 0.2%, ahead of the central bank meeting. 
    Most analysts polled by Reuters expect Bank Indonesia (BI)
to keep its main policy rate unchanged at 4.00% after cutting it
four times so far this year to mitigate the impact of the
pandemic. 
    The rate is one of the highest in Southeast Asia.
    "The desire to lower the cost of government borrowing, as an
extension of 'burden sharing', means that opportunistic rate
cuts remain on the table," Mizuho Bank analysts said in a note.
    For now, the central bank wants to avoid putting further
pressure on the local currency, already down 6% so far this
year, they said.
    "Given IDR is compromised despite a weak dollar backdrop ...
BI will need to hold its horses for now."
    The bank and the government agreed a $40 billion fiscal
deficit financing scheme last month that involves BI buying $28
billion of bonds with no interest. 
    Thai shares fell slightly and the baht weakened
0.2%, as political protests continued to weigh on sentiment. 
    Demonstrations that began on university campuses have taken
place almost daily since mid-July in an increasing challenge to
a ruling establishment long dominated by the army and the
monarchy.
    South Korean shares stood out with gains of 0.5%
following steep declines in the previous session, though gains
were limited as it tightened social distancing rules after a
three-digit increase in coronavirus cases for a fifth day.
 
    
    HIGHLIGHTS:
    ** Indonesian 3-year benchmark yields down 24.7
basis points at 5.172%
    ** Top losers on Thailand's SETI include CPL Group
PCL down 10.09% at 0.98 baht; Better World Green PCL
 down 9.38% at 0.58 baht
    ** In the Philippines, top index losers are JG Summit
Holdings Inc down 2.74% at 63.8 peso; GT Capital
Holdings Inc down 2.36% at 414 peso
    
    
  Asia stock indexes and                                    
 currencies at   0424 GMT                              
 COUNTRY   FX RIC          FX  FX YTD   INDEX  STOCKS  STOCK
                      DAILY %       %           DAILY  S YTD
                                                    %      %
 Japan                  -0.10   +2.92  <.N225    0.34  -2.23
                                       >               
 China     <CNY=CFXS    -0.00   +0.59  <.SSEC   -0.30  12.81
           >                           >               
 India                   0.00   -4.51  <.NSEI    0.53  -5.94
                                       >               
 Indonesi               +0.37   -6.06  <.JKSE   -0.20  -16.1
 a                                     >                   1
 Malaysia               +0.00   -2.18  <.KLSE   -0.15  -0.84
                                       >               
 Philippi               +0.00   +4.37           -0.93  -21.9
 nes                                                       6
 S.Korea   <KRW=KFTC    +0.02   -2.29  <.KS11    0.49   7.38
           >                           >               
 Singapor               -0.06   -1.52            0.05  -20.4
 e                                                         3
 Taiwan                 +0.44   +2.44  <.TWII   -0.07   7.22
                                       >               
 Thailand               -0.19   -4.07  <.SETI   -0.17  -15.9
                                       >                   5
 
 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Ana
Nicolaci da Costa)
  
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