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EMERGING MARKETS-Regional trade deal lifts Asia shares, currencies

Nikhil Nainan
·3-min read

* 15 Asia-Pacific economies form world's largest free trade bloc * South Korea, Taiwan gain 2% * Singapore, China, Thailand up around 1% * South Korean won hits near 2-year high against the dollar By Nikhil Nainan Nov 16 (Reuters) - South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore led broader Asian stock market gains on Monday as 15 Asia-Pacific economies signed a deal to form the world's largest free trade bloc, bolstering expectations for the pace of future economic growth. With the mood also brightened by upbeat data from China and Japan, Bangkok and Shanghai stocks both gained around 1%, with the Thai market hitting a more than three-month high. Over the weekend, Asia-Pacific economies signed a China-backed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which accounts for 30% of the global economy and excludes the United States. The group aims to lower tariffs and may aid in the post-pandemic recovery amid fractured relations between the Washington and Beijing. "The reach and ambitions of the RCEP, looking to abolish some 92% of traded goods tariffs, would be critical in deepening supply-chain linkages," Mizuho Bank said in a note, adding that hopes are "pinned on RCEP helping to catalyze the recovery in global trade and commerce." Shares in Seoul and Taipei climbed 2%, while rising over 1% in Singapore. Currencies of trade-dependent economies such as the Taiwanese dollar and South Korean won marked the biggest gains on the U.S. dollar, while Indonesia's rupiah , a favourite in the region to access the high-yielding local bond market, rose 0.2%. South Korea's finance ministry issued a warning on the won's movement after it hit a near two-year high on the U.S. dollar. Dealers said the central bank was suspected of buying dollars to stem gains. Investors were buoyed by factory output in China rising faster-than-expected in October, continuing on its recovery path, while Japan's economy grew at the fastest pace on record in the third quarter. Capital Economics said Thailand's GDP data on Monday showed the worst is over for the tourism-reliant economy, but warned its recovery will likely be one of the slowest in the region given its reliance on foreign travellers. The baht dipped 0.1% higher ahead of a central bank policy meeting on Wednesday. The week also houses policy meetings of the central bank's of Indonesia and the Philippines on Thursday. Markets in India were closed for a public holiday. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Indonesian three-year benchmark yields are up 7.5 basis points to 4.992% ** Genting Singapore Ltd led gains in the city-state; Morgan Stanley downgrades Singapore equities to equal-weight ** Morgan Stanley also says China will outperform emerging markets by less in 2021 than in 2020 Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0646 GMT COUNTRY FX FX FX INDEX STOCKS STOCKS RIC DAILY % YTD % DAILY % YTD % Japan +0.08 +3.89 2.05 9.51 China +0.39 +5.82 0.88 9.48 India - -4.32 - 5.03 Indonesia +0.18 -1.73 0.25 -13.09 Malaysia +0.15 -0.61 0.24 0.30 Philippines +0.01 +5.16 -0.74 -11.48 S.Korea +0.57 +4.25 1.97 15.71 Singapore +0.11 -0.09 1.38 -14.70 Taiwan +1.22 +5.64 2.10 12.96 Thailand -0.13 -0.99 0.97 -13.95 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Anil D'Silva)