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EMERGING MARKETS-Indian stocks firm, rupee steady ahead of budget to revive economy

    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
    * Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks tmsnrt.rs/3f2vwbA
    * Indian federal budget presentation due around 0530 GMT
    * Infrastructure spending boost, tax cuts eyed
    * Philippine equities up 2%, other Asian stocks also gain

    By Rashmi Ashok
    Feb 1 (Reuters) - Indian shares edged higher and the rupee
held steady ahead of the country's budget where large
infrastructure spending and tax cuts will likely be unveiled to
boost the pandemic-hit economy.
    Philippine stocks jumped more than 2% after heavy
losses last week, while other Asian equities pushed higher,
although worries over vaccine rollouts and economic recovery
persisted among investors.
    Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has promised a
'budget never seen before', where she is expected to increase
spending by more than 15% in 2021-22 with an emphasis on
infrastructure and healthcare.
    The government will also have to play a balancing act, given
the expected massive fiscal deficit in 2020-21 due to COVID-19
stimulus measures and lower revenue, and the continued need for
higher spending in the coming year to pull the economy out of a
slump. 
    "Generally budgets create a negative sentiment from the
financing numbers. This time around, since 2020 was such a
washout year, all the negatives are priced in," said Anindya
Banerjee, vice president at Kotak Securities for currency and
fixed income.
    "All in all, the actual borrowing numbers could actually be
less than the street estimates, and the fiscal deficit could be
a tad lower than what the consensus is, so there's room for a
positive surprise for bonds and a definite positive for the
rupee," he added.
    The Reserve Bank of India is also set to begin a three-day
meeting on Wednesday before announcing its interest rate
decision on Feb. 5, where it is largely expected to stand pat on
rates.
    Indian shares rose 0.3% and the rupee held
steady at 72.9 per dollar ahead of the budget presentation due
around 0530 GMT.
    Elsewhere, most Asian currencies were subdued, taking the
lead from the yuan which was off 0.5% after a survey
on Sunday showed China's factory activity grew at the slowest
pace in five months in January, hit by a wave of domestic
coronavirus infections.
    "The data is unlikely to bode well for the yuan in the short
term, with USDCNY likely to continue to trade with an upwards
bias," wrote Mitul Kotecha, senior emerging markets strategist
at TD Securities.
    Broader Asian stock markets managed to shed early losses and
push higher, while Malaysian markets were shut for a public
holiday. 
    
    HIGHLIGHTS:
    ** In the Philippines, top index gainers are Puregold Price
Club Inc up 6.39% and JG Summit Holdings Inc
up 6.33% 
    ** Top losers on the Singapore STI include: Mapletree
Logistics Trust down 2.53% and Capitaland Ltd
 down 2.18%
    ** Indonesian 3-year benchmark yields are down 1.3 basis
points at 5.123%​​ 
    
    
  Asia stock indexes and                              
 currencies at   0432 GMT                        
 COUNTRY  FX RIC        FX     FX  INDE  STOCKS  STOCK
                     DAILY  YTD %     X   DAILY  S YTD
                         %                    %      %
 Japan               +0.02  -1.36  <.N2    1.23   2.04
                                   25>           
 China    <CNY=CFX   -0.47  +1.05  <.SS    0.10   0.39
          S>                       EC>           
 India               +0.09  +0.25  <.NS    0.27  -2.22
                                   EI>           
 Indones             +0.07  +0.21  <.JK    1.50  -0.48
 ia                                SE>           
 Philipp             +0.01  -0.09  <.PS    1.88  -5.64
 ines                              I>            
 S.Korea  <KRW=KFT   -0.02  -2.93  <.KS    2.15   5.80
          C>                       11>           
 Singapo             -0.02  -0.62  <.ST   -0.05   2.01
 re                                I>            
 Taiwan              +1.44  +1.69  <.TW    1.42   4.21
                                   II>           
 Thailan             +0.07  +0.20  <.SE    0.53   1.76
 d                                 TI>           
 
    

 (Editing by Jacqueline Wong)
  
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