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EMERGING MARKETS-Thai baht gains as c.bank holds fire, Philippine stocks fall nearly 2%

    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
    * Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks tmsnrt.rs/3f2vwbA
    * Thailand's central bank downgrades 2020 growth forecast 
    * Philippine bourse shuts trading floor due to coronavirus
case

    By Shriya Ramakrishnan
    June 24 (Reuters) - The Thai baht gained on Wednesday after
the central bank left its key rate unchanged as expected, while
Philippine shares were the worst hit among Asia's emerging
markets as the country reported a huge spike in coronavirus
infections. 
    The Bank of Thailand left its policy rate unchanged at a
record low of 0.50% but downgraded its economic outlook for the
year.
    The baht strengthened as much as 0.3% against the
dollar after the decision, while Thai stocks were
largely unchanged as most analysts said the economic downgrade
was anticipated. 
     "Asian economies are broadly expected to suffer the
COVID-19 stricken reality and it is likely we will be seeing
that continue to be reflected with the BoT's economic forecast,"
Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at IG Asia said.
    Most other Asian currencies also advanced as the dollar came
under pressure following stronger U.S. and European economic
data. 
    South Korean shares and the won
outperformed after reports that North Korea had decided to
suspend military action plans against the South.
    In the Philippines, the benchmark stock index dropped
1.73% and the peso dipped, a day after the country
recorded its biggest single-day increase in coronavirus cases.
    The Philippine stock exchange closed its headquarters and
trading floor for 24 hours after an employee tested positive for
the virus, but said trading was not affected.
    "I think this amplifies the spike seen in COVID-19 cases
around the world, raising fears of a second wave in certain
areas," said Ruben Carlo O. Asuncion, chief economist at Union
Bank of the Philippines. 
    "There is just a lot of uncertainty that the COVID-19
pandemic really brings and this seeming "dance" global markets
have to face may be here to stay for quite some time."
    The Chinese yuan rose to a near two-month high
before giving up all gains due to a rise in corporate dollar
demand ahead of a long weekend.
    Financial markets in China are closed from Thursday, with
trading resuming on Monday. 
    
    
  Asia stock indexes and                                    
 currencies at   0740 GMT                              
 COUNTRY   FX RIC  FX DAILY   FX YTD    INDEX  STOCKS  STOCK
                          %        %            DAILY  S YTD
                                                    %      %
 Japan                -0.06    +1.91           -0.07   -4.74
 China     <CNY=C     -0.21    -1.54             0.30  -2.31
           FXS>                                        
 India     <INR=I     -0.11    -5.74             0.53  -13.4
           N>                                              9
 Indonesi             +0.11    -1.53             1.65  -21.2
 a                                                         7
 Malaysia             +0.07    -4.24            -0.36  -5.48
 Philippi             -0.10    +1.14            -1.73  -20.8
 nes                                                       1
 S.Korea   <KRW=K     +0.78    -3.59             1.42  -1.65
           FTC>                                        
 Singapor             +0.11    -3.24             0.03  -18.2
 e                                                         2
 Taiwan    <TWD=T     -0.01    +1.58             0.42  -2.80
           P>                                          
 Thailand  <THB=T     +0.39    -2.92             0.10  -14.0
           H>                                              6
 



 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy
Caren Daniel)
  
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