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EMERGING MARKETS-Indonesia shares gain on govt measures to boost recovery; most others fall

    * Indonesia to boost 2021 COVID-19 recovery budget to $44
bln
    * Philippine bank lending drops for first time in 14 years
in Dec
    * Singapore first Asian country to approve Moderna's COVID
vaccine

    By Shruti Sonal
    Feb 4 (Reuters) - Most Asian stock markets fell on Thursday
as investors exercised caution following mixed cues from Wall
Street overnight, but Indonesia posted solid gains on government
measures to limit the economic fallout from the pandemic. 
    The Singaporean, Malaysian, Thai and
Indian benchmarks shed between 0.2% and 0.9%, following
a weak finish by U.S. peers.
    "The loss of momentum on Wall Street overnight was enough to
tempt Asian investors to book profits this morning", said
Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst for Asia Pacific at OANDA.
    Philippine stocks saw their worst day in nearly a
week, dropping as much as 0.7%, as data showed bank lending fell
for the first time in more than 14 years in December, reflecting
weak consumer and business activity.
    Bucking the trend, Indonesia, which has suffered the
worst COVID-19 outbreak in Southeast Asia, climbed as much as
1.7%. 
     The country laid out plans to expand its COVID-19 recovery
budget this year from earlier targets to 619 trillion rupiah
($44.2 billion) and extended its tax incentives for businesses
to boost economic recovery.
    Indonesia is expected to post its first annual contraction
in gross domestic product (GDP) since 1998 on Friday. However,
analysts expect the fourth-quarter GDP growth to contract less
severely than compared to the previous quarter. 
    That would be in line with data showing a recovery in
domestic demand, improving consumption trends and an uptick in
investment loan growth and export growth, said Venkateswaran
Lavanya, economist at Mizuho Bank.
    "While government spending will continue to be the mainstay
for growth, we expect Bank Indonesia will also chip in by
supporting credit and liquidity conditions", she added. 
    Central banks and vaccination drives remain key focus points
for markets.
    Bank of England is expected to keep its benchmark interest
rate on hold at a policy meeting later in the day, following
similar moves earlier in the week by numerous central banks,
including Thailand and Australia.
    China's central bank said it will keep liquidity reasonably
ample and is set to resume injecting cash via 14-day reverse
repos through open market operations for first time since late
December.
    On the vaccine front, Singapore became the first country in
Asia to approve Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine on
Wednesday, while Thailand's resort island of Phuket is planning
private coronavirus vaccinations for 250,000 residents.

    Most currencies in the region fell as the dollar traded near
its strongest levels in more than two months against the euro
and the yen.
    But the Taiwan dollar extended a strong rally that
has been driven by robust demand for the country's tech exports.
    
    Highlights:
    
    ** Thai consumer mood hits 9-month low after new virus
outbreak
    ** Malaysia's 10-year benchmark yield is up 3.70 basis
points at 2.756%
    ** Top gainers on the Jakarta stock index include
Akbar Indo Makmur Stimec Tbk PT, Nusantara Inti
Corpora Tbk PT, Adi Sarana Armada Tbk PT 
    
    
  Asia stock indexes and currencies at                         
  0433 GMT                                                
 COUNTRY        FX RIC        FX     FX    INDEX  STOCKS  STOCK
                           DAILY  YTD %            DAILY  S YTD
                               %                       %      %
 Japan                     -0.09  -1.77            -0.84   3.50
 China          <CNY=CFX   +0.05  +1.08            -1.02   0.24
                S>                                        
 India                     +0.05  +0.21            -0.16   5.61
 Indonesia                 -0.07  +0.21             0.63   2.29
 Malaysia                  -0.05  -0.77            -0.33  -3.04
 Philippines               -0.18  -0.14             0.07  -3.86
 S.Korea        <KRW=KFT   -0.31  -2.88            -1.88   6.87
                C>                                        
 Singapore                 -0.12  -1.00            -0.91   2.00
 Taiwan                    +1.57  +1.95            -0.46   6.56
 Thailand                  +0.07  -0.20             0.14   2.38
 


 (Reporting by Shruti Sonal in Bengaluru; Editing by Edwina
Gibbs)
  
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