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EMERGING MARKETS-Asian stock lift from China data fades as Trump-Biden debate sparks concern

Nikhil Nainan
·3-min read

* Graphic: World FX rates * China Manufacturing PMI for September 51.5 vs August's 51.0 * Chaotic U.S. presidential debate leaves more questions By Nikhil Nainan Sept 30 (Reuters) - An early boost to Asia's emerging stock markets from Chinese economic data faded on Wednesday as a chaotic first U.S. presidential debate weakened sentiment globally and traders reined in bets ahead of several regional market holidays. The debate saw heated clashes between President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden, leaving more doubts about the November election and whether Trump would accept an unfavourable result than clarity of who could come out on top. Chinese stocks had initially led gains after two surveys showed China's factory activity, a bellwether for the region, still firmly in growth territory in September. Malaysia, Taiwan and the Philippines all held onto gains of around 0.4% as the day wore on, but both Shanghai and Singapore fell back to trade around 0.2% lower. A Trump victory in November would spell more volatility from relations with China and knock-on effects for the rest of Asia, according to some analysts. Goldman Sachs analysts on Tuesday said a victory for Biden and his Democratic Party in House and Senate elections was likely to boost the stock market. "During the Trump presidency outward direct investment to emerging economies has more than halved," said Stuart Ritson, a portfolio manager of emerging market local currency debt at Aviva Investors. "(If Biden wins) We might be able to see direct investment begin to flow again. In that environment, (emerging market currencies) can do a little better," he said. Most stock markets in Asia, in line with global trends, are slated to post declines in September, with China snapping three months of gains and Indonesia five, after fresh jolts to the global economic recovery emerged from Europe and investors re-valued companies seen as winners during the COVID-19 pandemic. China will start a week-long break from Thursday, while holidays in South Korea and Hong Kong for the remainder of the week and India on Friday kept trading subdued. Taiwan, whose tech-focussed economy has made it a robust performer in the coronavirus crisis, stood out again on Wednesday, with its currency rising 0.6%. The U.S. dollar found more support after the debate, prodding most other regional currencies marginally lower. The Philippine peso was marginally lower ahead of a central bank meeting on Thursday, where economists predict no policy changes following a total of 175 basis point cuts this year. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Philippine 10-year benchmark yield unchanged at 3.05% ** Singapore's top gainer was Keppel Corp after it identified assets worth S$17.5 billion to monetise ** Fractious presidential debate unlikely to move needle for Trump Investors react to first Trump-Biden election debate Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0707 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDEX STOCKS STOCKS DAILY % YTD % DAILY % YTD % Japan +0.05 +2.86 -1.50 -1.99 China +0.09 +2.27 -0.19 5.51 India +0.15 -3.20 0.07 -7.71 Indonesia -0.03 -6.53 -0.10 -22.63 Malaysia -0.12 -1.71 0.44 -4.93 Philippines -0.14 +4.58 0.39 -24.96 S.Korea - -1.12 - 5.93 Singapore -0.01 -1.78 -0.19 -23.45 Taiwan +0.66 +3.95 0.38 4.32 Thailand -0.16 -5.56 -0.75 -21.01 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)