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EMERGING MARKETS-Asia stocks, FX gain as Biden leads U.S. election race; rupiah climbs

Anushka Trivedi
·3-min read

* Graphic: World FX rates http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh * Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks https://tmsnrt.rs/3lKhL5I * Indonesia's rupiah gains over 2% this week * Malaysia budget due at 8000 GMT * Philippine, Singapore shares snap 4-day winning streak By Anushka Trivedi Nov 6 (Reuters) - Indonesia's rupiah hit a four-month high on Friday and most other emerging Asian currencies and stock markets also rose as Democrat Joe Biden inched close to victory in the U.S. presidential election. The rupiah firmed 0.9% to 14,240 per dollar, taking gains so far this week to around 2.5%, with investors chasing Indonesia's high-yielding debt after the prospect of a divided U.S. Congress and therefore therefore smaller stimulus caused a drop in Treasury yields . Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields were down 9.4 basis points at 6.516%. As investors prepare for a possible Biden victory, they are also bracing for Republicans to keep control of the Senate, and that could make it tough for the Democrats to pass a huge fiscal package for a pandemic-hit U.S. economy. "Republican control of the Senate suggests that no major fiscal stimulus is the offing," said Wei Liang Chang, a macro strategist at DBS bank in Singapore. "This has also led to a drop in U.S. Treasury yields, which raises the attractiveness of the higher-yielding rupiah." Investors have been buying China's yuan and stocks on the view that a Biden presidency will mean a less hawkish trade and foreign policy. The Chinese yuan dipped in early trade after its central bank set a weaker mid-point than the previous day's close, but was headed for weekly gains of 1.2%, its best performance in a month. The Taiwanese dollar and the Thai baht jumped 1.4% and 0.4%, respectively. Equities made some headway too, with Malaysia shares up 0.3% ahead of the 2021 budget announcement against the backdrop of political turmoil in the country. The budget is expected to include a 28 billion ringgit ($6.76 billion) provision for COVID-19 related matters and target revenue enhancement, as per Citi Research. A four-day rally in Philippine and Singapore shares lost steam, as they fell 0.4% and 0.6%, each. Kelvin Wong, market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore, said some Asian benchmark stock indexes are seeing profit-taking at the end of the week. HIGHLIGHTS ** Thailand's 10-year government bond yields are down 0.5 basis points at 1.33% ** Top losers on the Singapore STI include Singapore Telecommunications Ltd down 2.7% and Mapletree Industrial Trust down 2.1% ** In the Philippines, top index losers are Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co down 3.2% and First Gen Corp down 2.6% Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0349 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX DAILY % FX YTD % INDEX STOCKS STOCKS DAILY YTD % % Japan +0.08 +5.05 1.09 3.00 China -0.34 +4.98 -0.71 8.08 India +0.00 -4.05 0.00 -0.40 Indonesi +0.91 -2.53 0.42 -16.15 a Malaysia +0.07 -1.23 0.33 -5.18 Philippi +0.06 +4.97 -0.39 -15.31 nes S.Korea +0.22 +2.73 0.21 10.07 Singapor -0.05 -0.44 -0.55 -20.12 e Taiwan +1.17 +5.49 0.38 8.10 Thailand +0.46 -2.57 -0.11 -20.06 ($1 = 4.1390 ringgit) (Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill)