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EMERGING MARKETS-Philippine stocks slide as lockdown fears loom

    * Taiwan dollar, S. Korean won outperform among Asia FX
    * Philippine shares drop for 2nd straight session
    * Thai shares notch up three-day winning streak

    By Pranav A K
    Dec 28 (Reuters) - Philippine shares fell to their lowest in
nearly three weeks on Monday after President Rodrigo Duterte
warned over the weekend that the country could be back in
lockdown to guard against the spread of a new coronavirus
variant.
    Manila's benchmark index ended 1.1% lower, extending
losses to a second straight session and underperforming other
emerging Asian markets that 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.
    "For the PSEi, markets are seemingly responding to talks
over the Christmas holiday weekend about the new variant of
COVID-19 and its implications if the said variant is thus found
in the country," said Ruben Carlo O. Asuncion, chief economist
at Union Bank of the Philippines.
    Sentiment across the region, however, remained upbeat after
President Trump's go-ahead on a $2.3 trillion stimulus bill,
which averted a federal government shutdown and paved the way
for millions of Americans to get economic relief.
    Thai shares carved out a three-day winning streak,
while stocks in Indonesia were on course to settle 1.2%
higher after two sessions in the red. 
    Analysts at Phillip Securities said end-of-year portfolio
window dressing could help Bangkok's benchmark bourse gain
between 0.5% and 1% over the remainder of the year.
    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 in 2021 from the
pandemic-induced hammering this year.
    Still, the new virus variant has in recent days cast some
doubt over whether vaccines developed so far will be effective
against it and how its spread will affect a recovery.
    Malaysian stocks and the ringgit remained
elevated after data showed that the country's exports rose for
the third straight month in November and came in ahead of
analysts' expectations.
    
    HIGHLIGHTS:
    
    ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are down 5.2 basis
points at 6.045%
    ** Top gainers on the Jakarta stock index include
Radana Bhaskara Finance Tbk PT up 33.94% and Bank
Maybank Indonesia Tbk PT up 24.53%
    ** In the Philippines, top index losers are Metropolitan
Bank and Trust Co down 2.76% and DMCI Holdings Inc
 down 2.71%


  Asia stock indexes and currencies at                  
                0729 GMT                              
   COUNTRY     FX RIC     FX    FX YTD   INDE  STOCK  STOC
                        DAILY      %      X      S     KS
                          %                    DAILY  YTD
                                                 %     %
    Japan               +0.01    +4.97   <.N2  0.74   13.5
                                         25>           2
    China     <CNY=CFX  +0.15    +6.61   <.SS  0.02   11.3
                 S>                      EC>           8
    India               -0.05    -2.99   <.NS  0.78   13.8
                                         EI>           8
  Indonesia             +0.00    -1.91   <.JK  1.22   -3.4
                                         SE>           5
  Malaysia              +0.35    +1.09   <.KL  0.30   3.61
                                         SE>          
 Philippines            +0.02    +5.45   <.PS  -1.14  -8.8
                                          I>           7
   S.Korea    <KRW=KFT  +0.57    +5.44   <.KS  0.06   27.8
                 C>                      11>           0
  Singapore             +0.00    +1.26   <.ST  0.06   -11.
                                          I>           76
   Taiwan               +1.55    +7.12   <.TW  1.06   20.7
                                         II>           2
  Thailand              -0.27    -0.70   <.SE  0.52   -5.4
                                         TI>           4
 
 (Reporting by A K Pranav in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj
Kalluvila)
  
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