* Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh * Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks tmsnrt.rs/3f2vwbA * Thai baht hits three-week low * Philippine peso rangebound ahead of rate decision * Singapore shares pulled down by Wilmar International By Shriya Ramakrishnan Aug 20 (Reuters) - Asia's emerging stock markets sank on Thursday on the back of a gloomy message from the U.S. Federal Reserve on growth, while the Thai baht hit a three-week low as the arrest of an activist lawyer over anti-government protests added to political risks. In South Korea and Taiwan, both strong exporters highly sensitive to global growth, the main share indexes dived 3% after minutes from the Fed's last meeting pointed to widespread concerns over the prospects for economic recovery. Philippines, Thai and Singapore shares were all down more than 1% and the peso traded in a tight range ahead of a central bank meeting. The baht fell as much as 0.7%, its worst daily performance in more than a month, while shares in Bangkok were down more than 1%. Thai police arrested activist lawyer Anon Nampa on Wednesday over an Aug. 3 protest at which he called for reform of the powerful monarchy. Student-led protests have taken place almost daily for more than a month to demand the departure of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former junta leader, a new constitution and an end to the harassment of activists. "The growing frequency and intensity of the protests are underscoring risks of political stability as demands for drafting a new constitution could mean a power vacuum during periods when the economy is the weakest," said Kobsidthi Silpachai, head of capital markets research at Kasikornbank. In the Philippines, the peso struggled to extend its recent run of gains against a broadly stronger dollar, while Manila shares were on course for a second straight day of declines, down more than 1%. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) meets on Thursday and is widely expected to leave its key interest rate at a record low of 2.25% after four consecutive rate cuts to save ammunition in case the economy, already in a recession, deteriorates further, a Reuters poll showed. "The rather brutal economic downswing in Q2 GDP could justify more easing, but we expect that the BSP is more likely than not to hold off for now," Mizuho Bank analysts said in a note. "To a large extent this is because BSP has already undertaken significant, front-loaded easing both in terms of rate cuts as well as liquidity infusion so far." Financial markets in Malaysia and Indonesia were closed for holidays. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Thailand's 10-year government bond yields are up 1 basis point at 1.33%, while its 3-year benchmark yields are up 1 basis point at 0.6% ** Top losers on the Singapore STI include Wilmar International down 10.7% at S$4.34; Hongkong Land Holdings Ltd down 3.9% at S$3.7 ** In the Philippines, top index losers are BDO Unibank Inc down 2.83% at 89.2 peso; Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co down 2.78% at 6.23 peso Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0352 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX YTD INDEX STOCKS STOCK DAILY % % DAILY S YTD % % Japan +0.08 +2.44 -0.93 -3.22 China <CNY=CFXS -0.04 +0.59 -1.08 10.54 > India 0.00 -4.60 0.00 -6.25 Philippi +0.01 +4.14 -1.07 -23.5 nes 1 S.Korea <KRW=KFTC -0.46 -2.55 -3.04 4.14 > Singapor +0.04 -1.84 -1.83 -21.9 e 9 Taiwan +0.37 +2.40 -2.99 3.33 Thailand -0.45 -4.65 -1.12 -18.0 9 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Sam Holmes)
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