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EMERGING MARKETS-Asian stocks move up in nervous trade as U.S. vote on knife-edge

Shriya Ramakrishnan
·3-min read
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* Graphic: World FX rates http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh * Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks https://tmsnrt.rs/3f2vwbA * Asian FX lose ground as dollar claws back losses * Mexican peso swings wildly in volatile trade * Philippine shares gain the most By Shriya Ramakrishnan Nov 4 (Reuters) - Emerging Asian stocks scored small gains and currencies were broadly weaker as early projections of the U.S. presidential election hinted at a tighter race, sparking a bout of volatility across financial markets. U.S. President Donald Trump was narrowly leading Democratic rival Joe Biden in the vital battleground state of Florida, Edison Research said on Tuesday, while other competitive swing states that will help decide the election outcome, such as Georgia and North Carolina, remained up in the air. Share markets in the region closely tracked U.S. stock futures, which swung wildly as early election results from different states began to trickle in, but the final outcome may not be known for days. South Korea's KOSPI was up half a percent, after largely swinging between positive and negative territory, while Singapore shares were marginally higher. An unclear result, one with no immediate outcome or one showing split party control, would throw more doubt on the prospects for a coronavirus relief package that could help revive an economy decimated by the pandemic. Analysts have said a Biden victory could weaken the dollar and lift trade-exposed currencies, as it is expected to adopt a less combative stance on the region's economic engine, China, and a steadier foreign and trade policy overall. Biden, who has held a consistent lead in national opinion polls, still has multiple paths to the 270 Electoral College votes he needs to win without Florida, and took the lead in other battleground states. Most Asian currencies traded lower after the U.S. dollar pared earlier losses, with the Singapore dollar, South Korean won and Chinese yuan down the most. The Mexican peso, highly sensitive to both political and economic developments of the United States, its closest trading partner, also swung wildly in volatile trade. It was last down 1.8%. Taiwan's dollar stood out once again with a more than 1% rise, and the Indonesian rupiah at a near three-month high against the U.S. dollar. Elsewhere, Philippine shares topped gains among regional stock markets after data showed the country posted its first monthly rise in exports since February, as the government gradually reopened the pandemic-hit economy. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Thailand's 10-year government bond yields are up 1 basis point at 1.4% ** In the Philippines, top index gainers are Bloomberry Resorts Corp up 4.34% at 7.7 peso, Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co up 3.07% at 41.95 peso, Robinsons Land Corp up 2.89% at 15.64 peso ** Top gainers on the Singapore STI include Singapore Telecommunications Ltd up 2.44% at S$2.1, Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd up 1.14% at S$3.56, SATS Ltd up 0.97% at S$3.13 Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0217 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDEX STOCKS STOCKS DAILY YTD % DAILY % YTD % % Japan -0.10 +3.87 1.73 0.17 China <CNY=CFXS -0.35 +3.92 0.05 7.30 > India 0.00 -4.07 0.00 -2.90 Indonesi +0.62 -4.14 0.31 -17.84 a Malaysia -0.12 -1.68 0.45 -7.60 Philippi -0.06 +4.76 0.76 -18.31 nes S.Korea <KRW=KFTC -0.23 +1.73 0.51 7.17 > Singapor -0.32 -1.44 0.18 -22.38 e Taiwan +1.10 +5.24 0.41 6.60 Thailand -0.13 -3.76 0.00 -22.70 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru Editing by Shri Navaratnam)