* Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh * Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks tmsnrt.rs/3f2vwbA * Philippine shares down on rising COVID-19 infections * Taiwan dollar, Indonesian rupiah lead gains among Asia FX By Shriya Ramakrishnan Aug 19 (Reuters) - Indonesia's rupiah rose as investors bet the central bank would keep interest rates steady, helping to hold on to the currency's comfortable yield advantage against the U.S. dollar, while coronavirus concerns triggered selling in Philippine assets. Currencies across Asia's emerging markets notched modest gains, led by the Taiwanese dollar, as the greenback came under pressure from doubts over the pace of a U.S. economic recovery and the possibility of further fiscal stimulus. Wall Street's S&P 500 scaled all-time highs overnight, but the mood across Asian stock markets was more downbeat, with Chinese equities dipping 0.3% after a strong rally a day earlier. Philippines shares and the peso suffered as virus case numbers topped 3,000 for a seventh straight day. A strict lockdown in the capital Manila and nearby provinces was eased on Monday to help struggling businesses, despite the country having the highest number of infections in Southeast Asia. In Indonesia, the rupiah gained 0.4%, while shares fell 0.2%, ahead of the central bank meeting. Most analysts polled by Reuters expect Bank Indonesia (BI) to keep its main policy rate unchanged at 4.00% after cutting it four times so far this year to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. The rate is one of the highest in Southeast Asia. "The desire to lower the cost of government borrowing, as an extension of 'burden sharing', means that opportunistic rate cuts remain on the table," Mizuho Bank analysts said in a note. For now, the central bank wants to avoid putting further pressure on the local currency, already down 6% so far this year, they said. "Given IDR is compromised despite a weak dollar backdrop ... BI will need to hold its horses for now." The bank and the government agreed a $40 billion fiscal deficit financing scheme last month that involves BI buying $28 billion of bonds with no interest. Thai shares fell slightly and the baht weakened 0.2%, as political protests continued to weigh on sentiment. Demonstrations that began on university campuses have taken place almost daily since mid-July in an increasing challenge to a ruling establishment long dominated by the army and the monarchy. South Korean shares stood out with gains of 0.5% following steep declines in the previous session, though gains were limited as it tightened social distancing rules after a three-digit increase in coronavirus cases for a fifth day. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Indonesian 3-year benchmark yields down 24.7 basis points at 5.172% ** Top losers on Thailand's SETI include CPL Group PCL down 10.09% at 0.98 baht; Better World Green PCL down 9.38% at 0.58 baht ** In the Philippines, top index losers are JG Summit Holdings Inc down 2.74% at 63.8 peso; GT Capital Holdings Inc down 2.36% at 414 peso Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0424 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX YTD INDEX STOCKS STOCK DAILY % % DAILY S YTD % % Japan -0.10 +2.92 <.N225 0.34 -2.23 > China <CNY=CFXS -0.00 +0.59 <.SSEC -0.30 12.81 > > India 0.00 -4.51 <.NSEI 0.53 -5.94 > Indonesi +0.37 -6.06 <.JKSE -0.20 -16.1 a > 1 Malaysia +0.00 -2.18 <.KLSE -0.15 -0.84 > Philippi +0.00 +4.37 -0.93 -21.9 nes 6 S.Korea <KRW=KFTC +0.02 -2.29 <.KS11 0.49 7.38 > > Singapor -0.06 -1.52 0.05 -20.4 e 3 Taiwan +0.44 +2.44 <.TWII -0.07 7.22 > Thailand -0.19 -4.07 <.SETI -0.17 -15.9 > 5 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)
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