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EMERGING MARKETS-Asian markets tumble as virus curbs hit risk sentiment

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* Philippine stocks hit lowest since May 27 * S. Korea tightens virus curbs on gatherings beyond Seoul * Indonesian rupiah eases; central bank meet on Thursday By Anushka Trivedi July 19 (Reuters) - Asian stock markets and currencies saw heavy losses on Monday as some countries in the region tightened COVID-19 curbs to tackle a highly contagious Delta variant-fuelled surge of infections that sparked a sell-off in risky assets. Manila shares slid 1.6%, slumping for a third day after last week's detection of a Delta variant infection spurred extension of stay-at-home orders, while Singapore, Thailand and South Korea's equities fell 1% each. Among currencies, the South Korean won declined 0.7% to lead losses on widened curbs beyond Seoul, the capital, while the baht, the peso and the ringgit eased between 0.2% and 0.3%. Coronavirus infections have risen even in nations with high vaccination rates, such as Britain and the United States, while Asia is still grappling with a slow inoculation pace and tough curbs, clouding its prospects for near-term growth. "Asia macro continues to face multiple drags," Deutsche Bank analysts said in a note. They cited the stop-start nature of curbs forced by recurring waves and newer COVID-19 variants and lack of policy space, both monetary and fiscal, to support growth. Unlike the central banks of developed economies that are considering paring back stimulus, those of emerging Asia are forced to stay accommodative as their economic situation remains unstable. One exception was Bank of Korea, which is expected to raise interest rates this year as strength in the country's trade prompted its central bank to take a hawkish stance. As Indonesia prepared to extend curbs amid climbing death toll, the rupiah dropped 0.2% but strong-bond buying limited losses. Yield on the 10-year benchmark bond was down 9.4 basis points at 6.343%, its lowest since June 11. Fluctuation in the U.S. Treasury yields recently has propped up Indonesia's debt, but foreign investor faith is on the decline though yields will not fall below 6.20% as most of the participation seems to be by domestic actors, TD Securities analysts said in a note. Bank Indonesia will meet for a policy review on Thursday, where it is expected to hold rates to avoid further weakness in the rupiah and may instead step up intervention to stabilise it, the brokerage added. HIGHLIGHTS ** Indonesian 3-year benchmark yields are down 10.6 basis points at 4.475% ** Top losers on the Singapore STI include: Sembcorp Industries Ltd down 1.9% and CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust down 1.9% ** In the Philippines, top index losers are Bloomberry Resorts Corp down 5.7% and Robinsons Land Corp down 4.8% Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0649 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX DAILY % FX YTD % INDEX STOCKS DAILY % STOCKS YTD % Japan +0.09 -6.13 -1.25 0.76 China -0.05 +0.72 0.01 1.92 India -0.26 -2.26 -0.68 13.11 Indonesia -0.17 -3.31 -0.81 0.74 Malaysia -0.28 -4.72 0.63 -5.85 Philippines -0.24 -4.87 -1.59 -7.74 S.Korea -0.72 -5.37 -1.00 12.90 Singapore -0.13 -2.78 -0.89 9.86 Taiwan -0.18 +1.53 -0.59 20.75 Thailand -0.33 -8.80 -0.98 7.56 (Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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