EMERGING MARKETS-Singapore stocks hit 8-month high as economic outlook brightens

    * Graphic: World FX rates
    * Singapore Q3 GDP contracts less than expected
    * Tourism-reliant Thailand shares gain over 2%
    * Japan stock markets closed for holiday 

    By Shruti Sonal
    Nov 23 (Reuters) - Singapore shares climbed over 1% to a
more than eight-month high on Monday after GDP data showed the
economy is set to return to  growth next year, while broader
emerging Asian markets were lifted by hopes for imminent
coronavirus vaccines.
    The Singapore benchmark hit its highest since March
11 as the city-state's economy contracted less than initially
estimated in the third quarter and is forecast to bounce back to
growth next year.
    Singapore benefited from a gradual easing of its COVID-19
lockdown measures, though investors remain cautious about the
outlook amid a surge in global infections and fresh restrictions
to curb them.    
    "Going forward, the real concern will be how external demand
response is going into 2021", said Chang Wei Liang, macro
strategist at Singapore-based DBS Bank.  
     "The fear is that a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in U.S.
and Europe will drag down the demand as Singapore is quite
externally dependent. But for now, I think the sentiment is
still on the more positive side with the expectation that a
vaccine will be pushed out next year."
    Singapore Airlines and in-flight catering service
provider SATS Ltd, however, fell over 1% each as a
travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore was postponed for
two weeks.
    Other regional markets inched higher on hopes of a vaccine
rollout after a top official of the U.S. government's vaccine
development effort said Sunday that the first vaccines could be
given to U.S. healthcare workers and others recommended by
    MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
 rose 0.6%, pushing past a previous record high
touched on Friday.
    Tourism-reliant Thailand shares were up over 2%,
extending their gains for a fourth consecutive session.
    Thailand's trade surplus for October stood at $2.05 billion,
higher than the $1.94 billion forecast in a Reuters poll,
according to commerce ministry data.
    The baht was flat after the central bank on Friday
unveiled new measures to balance capital flows and hedge against
a rapid jump in the currency.
    Japanese stock markets were closed for a holiday, while the
yen was trading 0.1% up. 
    ** Top gainers on the Thailand's SETI include Max
Metal Corporation PCL, TWZ Corporation PCL and
asmine International PCL
    ** Singapore's 10-year benchmark yield is down 2.2 basis
points at 0.91%​​
  Asia stock indexes and currencies                             
 at   0404 GMT                                            
                     DAILY                       DAILY %   YTD %
 Japan               +0.10      +4.68               -      7.9%
 China    <CNY=CFX   -0.01      +6.10               0.86   11.69
 India               -0.04      -3.72               0.64    6.36
 Indones             +0.07      -1.84               0.94  -10.72
 Malaysi             +0.07      +0.05               0.10    0.41
 Philipp             +0.08      +5.10               1.31   -7.06
 S.Korea  <KRW=KFT   +0.17      +3.96               1.86   18.35
 Singapo             +0.09      +0.19               0.76  -12.06
 Taiwan              +1.06      +5.57               1.02   15.49
 Thailan             +0.03      -1.22               1.72  -10.54
 (Reporting by Shruti Sonal in Bengaluru
Editing by Shri Navaratnam)