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EMERGING MARKETS-Asian stocks, currencies downbeat as virus worries linger

    * Markets, which were closed for holiday on Tuesday, resume
trade
    * Singapore re-imposes strict curbs, local dollar trips
    * India's financial markets closed for the day

    By Anushka Trivedi
    July 21 (Reuters) - Asian equity and currency markets were
broadly weaker on Wednesday, as worries persisted over the Delta
variant's negative impact on economic growth, with Philippine
stocks losing 1.5% to hit an almost eight-week low.
    Singapore shares were little changed but the local
dollar weakened 0.2% after tight curbs were re-imposed
for one month in the country.
    Thailand and Taiwan equities dropped 0.3%
each, while the Malaysian ringgit, the Indonesian
rupiah and the baht eased between 0.2% and 0.4%.
   
    Investors favoured safe-haven assets like the U.S. dollar
and Treasuries as most Asian nations remained under lockdowns,
curtailing economic activity.
    South Korea reported a daily record of 1,784 cases as
authorities struggled to rein in outbreaks linked to the
highly-contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus. Its shares
 and the won slipped 0.4% and 0.2%,
respectively.
    "With much of the region in lockdowns or semi-lockdowns or
just a mess, the recovery will inevitably be slower here until
the world gets its vaccination act together," said Jeffrey
Halley, senior market analyst, Asia Pacific at OANDA.
    Southeast Asia is no longer expected "to be the value-trade
of 2021, and its currencies will also underperform in the
second-half," he added.
    The Philippines' stock index skidded on resuming
trade after a holiday, as a slight drop in daily COVID-19 cases
was outweighed by slow vaccination pace and lockdowns.
    However, the peso firmed for a second day, raking
some benefits from a slump in crude prices as the Philippines'
is a net oil importer. The currency had recorded seven straight
weekly declines till July 16, shedding around 6% over the
period.
    "The peso was ripe for a correction after being oversold,"
said Nicholas Mapa, senior economist at ING.
     "However, short-term pressure on the peso should remain
until overall sentiment improves further as the country has been
hit with a spate of not so positive developments of late," he
added.    
    India's financial markets, were shut for a
holiday.
    
    
    HIGHLIGHTS
    
    ** Bank Indonesia expected to stand pat on interest rates on
Thursday amid severe COVID-19 outbreak - Reuters poll
 
    ** Malaysia's 10-year benchmark yield was down 7.9 basis
points at 3.115%
    ** Singapore's 10-year benchmark yield was down 5 basis
points at 1.38%

 Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0645 GMT                                             
 COUNTRY       FX RIC       FX DAILY %   FX YTD %     INDEX  STOCKS DAILY %    STOCKS YTD %
 Japan                           -0.01      -6.02                      0.58            0.38
 China                           +0.13      +0.81                      0.70            2.55
 Indonesia                       -0.24      -3.51                      0.29            0.93
 Malaysia                        -0.42      -5.19                      0.04           -6.55
 Philippines                     +0.42      -4.70                     -1.68           -9.29
 S.Korea                         -0.31      -5.88                     -0.52           11.92
 Singapore                       -0.19      -3.41                     -0.04            9.36
 Taiwan                          +0.00      +1.51                     -0.40           18.51
 Thailand                        -0.15      -8.80                     -0.34            5.82
 


    
 (Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; editing by
Uttaresh.V)
  
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