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EMERGING MARKETS-China factory surveys lift stocks, currencies steady

Nikhil Nainan
·3-min read

* Graphic: World FX rates * China Manufacturing PMI for September 51.5 vs August 51.0 * Chaotic U.S. presidential debate leaves no clear winner By Nikhil Nainan Sept 30 (Reuters) - More evidence that China's economy is rebounding lifted Asia's emerging stock markets on Wednesday with Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan all following Shanghai stocks around half a percent higher. A holiday in South Korea and the start of a week-long break in China on Thursday kept trading subdued, with the action in the U.S. presidential debate late on Tuesday failing to stir much movement from investors globally. Two surveys showed China's factory activity, a bellwether for the region, still firmly in growth territory in September. "The data continues to provide evidence of China's economic resilience both in the manufacturing and services sector," Mitul Kotecha, a senior emerging markets strategist at TD Securities, said. "The strength of the trade components was encouraging, suggesting that exports and imports will continue to improve, which is also positive for the rest of Asia." In line with global trends, most stock markets in Asia are slated to post declines in September, with China set to snap three months of gains and Indonesia five, after fresh jolts to the global recovery emerged from Europe and investors re-valued companies seen as winners during the pandemic. The region's currencies, however, have been supported by the broad weakness of the U.S. dollar. Taiwan, whose tech-focussed economy has made it a robust performer in the coronavirus crisis, again stood out on Wednesday with its currency <TW-=TP> gaining 0.7%. Other currencies were broadly flat as the dollar held steady through the heated debate between Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden. Christopher Wong, a FX strategist at Maybank, said market liquidity in Asia is likely to be thin due to the month-and quarter-end as well as holidays. He added there was "little incentive to position for event risk," and markets are likely to consolidate amid the uncertainty surrounding the U.S. election and stimulus outcome. 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. Indonesia stocks fell 0.4%, pushing the index toward a more than 7% drop this month. The capital Jakarta reimposed COVID-19 restrictions in September, raising concerns about economic growth. Investors are also nervous over proposed changes to the central bank law that would potentially reduce its independence and give ministers more say over policy matters. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Philippine 10-year benchmark yield unchanged at 3.05% ** The top gainer in Singapore was Keppel Corp after it identified assets worth S$17.5 billion to monetise ** Investors react to first Trump-Biden election debate Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0341 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDEX STOCKS STOCKS DAILY % YTD % DAILY % YTD % Japan +0.06 +2.87 -0.12 -0.62 China +0.04 +2.22 0.47 6.21 India 0.00 -3.35 0.00 -7.77 Indonesia -0.03 -6.53 -0.43 -22.88 Malaysia -0.02 -1.61 0.42 -4.94 Philippines -0.13 +4.60 0.42 -24.94 S.Korea - -1.12 - 5.93 Singapore -0.01 -1.78 0.40 -23.00 Taiwan +0.68 +3.98 0.35 4.28 Thailand -0.13 -5.53 -0.51 -20.82 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)