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EMERGING MARKETS-Asia stocks, currencies jump on U.S. stimulus hopes

·3-min read

* Graphic: World FX rates http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh * Singapore sees biggest jump in more than one month * Philippine central bank policy decision at 0800 GMT * BSP expected to keep rates unchanged * Palm oil producers in Malaysia fall Oct 1 (Reuters) - Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia and India all climbed 1% and led gains among Asian stock and currency markets in holiday-thinned trade on Thursday, as the mood among investors globally was bolstered by signs of progress on U.S. fiscal stimulus. A slew of holidays saw markets in China, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong closed, while technical glitches in Tokyo prompted the bourse to suspend trading for the day. Singapore stocks climbed by their most since August and Manila's 1.4% jump was its biggest in more than three weeks as a survey showed factory activity was back in growth territory for the first time since February. "Global risk appetite benefited from positive noises around a stimulus deal from Washington," Stephen Innes, chief global market strategist at Axi, said in a note. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Wednesday that progress was being made on a $2.2 trillion relief plan, supporting late gains on Wall Street. The news also helped send the dollar, by far investors' favourite safe haven, to a one-week low, bolstering currencies across the region. Trade data from South Korea, showing exports rising for the first time in seven months in September, also added to positive signals from the Chinese economy earlier in the week. The region's only monetary event is a Philippine central bank meeting that is expected to keep interest rates unchanged at a record low of 2.25%, following 175 basis points in cuts this year. The peso and bonds were little changed. Analysts say markets have already priced in a pause and Jennifer Lomboy, a fixed income fund manager at First Metro Asset Management, said dovish commentary will be "highly welcomed by both equities and fixed income markets." The government on Wednesday sought $11 billion in funding support from the central bank. "In terms of liquidity, it'll add more funds into the system for the duration of the repurchase agreement but will not likely lead to upward pressure on rates given that it's a deal directly with the central bank," said Nicholas Mapa, a senior Philippine economist at ING. A change at the top of Singapore Telecommunications (Singtel) sent its shares up over 3%, while in neighbouring Malaysia, a sharp drop coming from palm oil producer FGV Holdings Bhd after the United States banned imports from the company over allegations it uses forced labour, dragged shares lower. Rival Sime Darby Plantation also fell more than 3% lower. HIGHLIGHTS: ** FGV Holdings slid 9.6% on news of the U.S. ban ** Philippine 10-year benchmark yield is unchanged at 3% ** Singtel appointed an insider as its new group CEO at a challenging time for the industry Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0704 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDEX STOCKS STOCKS DAILY % YTD % DAILY % YTD % Japan -0.04 +2.96 0.00 -1.99 China - +2.42 - 5.51 India +0.45 -2.80 1.44 -6.24 Indonesia +0.07 -6.41 1.44 -21.58 Malaysia +0.19 -1.35 -0.60 -5.85 Philippines +0.04 +4.54 1.38 -23.93 S.Korea - -1.12 - 5.93 Singapore +0.22 -1.31 1.33 -22.45 Taiwan - +3.36 - 4.32 Thailand +0.25 -5.23 0.54 -21.28 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Uttaresh.V)