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EMERGING MARKETS-Lockdown worries dent Philippines stocks

    * Philippine shares fall to near 1-mth low
    * Taiwan dollar leads gains among Asian currencies
    * Thai shares hit highest since Feb. 19

    By Pranav A K
    Dec 28 (Reuters) - Philippine shares were on track for their
worst day in more than a month on Monday after President Rodrigo
Duterte warned over the weekend that a second lockdown could be
imposed to curb the spread of a new coronavirus variant.
    Manila's benchmark index skidded 2% to its lowest
since Dec. 3, underperforming other emerging Asian markets which
advanced in thin trading after U.S. President Donald Trump
signed a pandemic aid bill.            
    The Philippines, which has the second highest number of
COVID-19 cases and casualties in Southeast Asia, has extended an
existing ban on flights from Britain to mid-January and is
considering other travel restrictions.
    "Manila is being led lower by retail banking and
utilities... That implies that local markets are concerned over
new curbs," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.
    Broader sentiment remained supported by President Trump's
go-ahead on a $2.3 trillion stimulus bill, which averted a
federal government shutdown.
    Thai shares marched to a 10-month high, while stocks
in Indonesia snapped a two-day losing streak, adding 1%.
    Malaysian stocks and the ringgit remained
elevated after data showed that the country's exports rose for
the third straight month in November and beat analysts'
expectations.
    Among currencies, the Taiwan dollar led gains and
climbed 1.5% to its highest since 1997, as the region's best
performing currency this year continued to be propelled by solid
tech export orders.
    Regional stocks and currencies have rebounded from their
March lows in recent months, as the promise of vaccines spurred
bets that the global economy will rebound from the hammering of
the pandemic in 2021.
    However, the new virus variant has in recent days cast some
doubt over whether vaccines developed so far will be effective
against it and how it will affect growth recovery.
    In Vietnam, shares jumped more than 1% after the
prime minister said the country would aim to raise its economic
growth target for 2021, after it slowed this year to its weakest
in at least three decades.
    
    
    HIGHLIGHTS:
    
    ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are down 4.5 basis
points at 6.052%
    ** Top gainers on FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kl Index
include Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd up 3.07% and
Sime Darby Bhd up 2.69% 
    ** In the Philippines, top index losers are Alliance Global
Group Inc down 3.26% and DMCI Holdings Inc
down 3.22%
    
    
  Asia stock indexes and currencies                 
            at 0457 GMT                           
 COUNTRY   FX RIC     FX    FX YTD   INDE  STOCK  STOC
                    DAILY      %      X      S     KS
                      %                    DAILY  YTD
                                             %     %
  Japan             -0.05    +4.91   <.N2  0.53   13.2
                                     25>           8
  China   <CNY=CFX  +0.15    +6.61   <.SS  0.30   11.6
             S>                      EC>           9
  India             +0.04    -2.92   <.NS  0.71   13.7
                                     EI>           9
 Indones            +0.07    -1.84   <.JK  1.04   -3.6
   ia                                SE>           2
 Malaysi            +0.20    +0.94   <.KL  0.38   3.69
    a                                SE>          
 Philipp            +0.05    +5.49   <.PS  -1.02  -8.7
  ines                                I>           5
 S.Korea  <KRW=KFT  +0.58    +5.45   <.KS  0.34   28.1
             C>                      11>           5
 Singapo            +0.05    +1.31   <.ST  0.24   -11.
   re                                 I>           61
 Taiwan             +1.53    +7.10   <.TW  0.86   20.4
                                     II>           9
 Thailan            -0.30    -0.73   <.SE  0.44   -5.5
    d                                TI>           1
 
 (Reporting by A K Pranav in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj
Kalluvila)
  
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