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EMERGING MARKETS-Asian stocks slip on virus case surge; ringgit weakens

    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
    * Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks tmsnrt.rs/3lKhL5I
    * S. Korean shares set for second day of declines
    * China's Nov industrial output steps up 
    * Final vote on Malaysia's 2021 budget awaited 

    By Shriya Ramakrishnan
    Dec 15 (Reuters) - Most Asian stock markets pulled back from
multi-week highs on Tuesday as rising COVID-19 infections and
lockdowns overshadowed strong industrial output data from China,
while a drop in crude prices pressured the currency of exporter
Malaysia. 
    Industrial output in China, the region's economic engine,
grew in line with expectations and expanded for the
eighth-straight month as an economic recovery gathered pace.

    Equity indexes in South Korea, Philippines
and Thailand however slipped, in line with their broader
Asian peers as mounting COVID-19 cases in Japan and South Korea
and tighter restrictions in New York and London brought the
focus back to the economic impact of the pandemic.
    "Equity markets have probably priced in an initial launch of
coronavirus vaccine in their eye-watering rally in November. For
now, time might be needed for the vaccines to bring down the
daily cases and show effectiveness in containing the pandemic,"
Margaret Yang, a strategist at DailyFX wrote in a note.
    South Korea's KOSPI fell 0.7%, and the won
 weakened 0.3%, as daily COVID-19 infection rates
hovered at record levels, with another 880 new cases reported as
of midnight Monday. 
    The country's prime minister pleaded with residents to abide
by social distancing rules to avoid tougher restrictions.

    Singapore stocks traded 0.4% lower, but losses were
limited by the government's plans to ease restrictions on social
distancing and to open a new segregated travel lane for a
limited number of travellers from all countries.
    Malaysia's ringgit dropped 0.3%, as crude prices
dipped due to concerns about fuel demand and a flare-up of
tension in the Middle East.
    Investors also await a final vote by policymakers on the
government's 2021 budget later in the day. 
    Two opposition sources said veteran leader Anwar Ibrahim,
who in September declared he had majority support from lawmakers
to form a government, is expected to try to block the budget
this time.
    The Philippines peso received some support from data
showing a 2.9% increase in overseas remittances, a key source of
foreign income for the country.
    Central bank meetings in Indonesia and the Philippines will
be a focus in what is likely to be the last action-packed week
of the year for emerging Asian markets. 
    Analysts at ING expect both the banks to keep rates on hold
and adopt a wait-and-see approach for recovery to gain traction
after aggressive policy easing this year. 
    
    HIGHLIGHTS:
    ** Thailand's 10-year government bond yields are down 4
basis points at 1.22%
    ** In the Philippines, top index losers are Megaworld Corp
 down 2.76% at 3.97 pesos; Robinsons Land Corp
down 2.75% at 21.25 pesos; JG Summit Holdings Inc down
2.55% at 68.85 pesos
    ** Top losers on Thailand's SETI include Boutique
Newcity PCL down 23.97% at 11.1 baht; MFC-Nichada
Thani Property Fund down 10% at 1.35 baht
    
    
  Asia stock indexes and                                    
 currencies at   0438 GMT                             
 COUNTRY   FX RIC        FX     FX      INDEX  STOCK  STOCKS
                      DAILY  YTD %                 S   YTD %
                          %                    DAILY  
                                                   %  
 Japan                -0.09  +4.31             -0.28   12.68
 China     <CNY=CFXS  -0.07  +6.25             -0.45    9.96
           >                                          
 India                -0.04  -3.03             -0.50   10.87
 Indonesi             -0.21  -1.56             -0.52   -5.06
 a                                                    
 Malaysia             -0.30  +0.64              0.44    5.11
 Philippi             -0.02  +5.41             -0.82   -7.60
 nes                                                  
 S.Korea   <KRW=KFTC  -0.26  +5.64             -0.70   24.81
           >                                          
 Singapor             -0.09  +0.64             -0.38  -11.66
 e                                                    
 Taiwan               +1.03  +6.91             -0.87   17.42
 Thailand             -0.02  -0.50             -0.92   -7.42
 
   


 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by
Stephen Coates)
  
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