EMERGING MARKETS-Asia lower, Thai baht declines ahead of c.bank decision

    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
    * Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks tmsnrt.rs/3lKhL5I
    * Ringgit falls after Anwar claims parliamentary majority
    * Thai central bank decision around 0700 GMT

    By Anushka Trivedi
    Sept 23 (Reuters) - Asian emerging currency and stock
markets lost more ground on Wednesday, with the Thai baht
suffering from concerns about a struggling economy while the
Malaysian ringgit fell after opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim
claimed he had a majority in parliament.
    This week's strength of the U.S. dollar continued to weigh,
with the Taiwanese dollar a consistent outperformer,
thanks to its tech-heavy economy, again the only outlier. 
    Stock markets were all down across the board, led by
Malaysia, with India bucking the trend thanks to signs
of more deals for the energy-to-retail conglomerate Reliance
, already the subject of major investment from
Facebook, Google and other big foreign players this year.

    The ringgit fell 0.7% to a near two-week low after 
Anwar said he had secured a strong majority from lawmakers to
form a new government, stoking more political uncertainty.

    The opposition leader's claim comes less than seven months
after Muhyiddin Yassin clinched the premiership following
political turmoil that saw the collapse of the previous
administration under Mahathir Mohamad.
    Malaysia's main index led losses on stock markets,
but the fall was linked to data showing August inflation stuck
in negative territory and worse than forecast.. 
    The baht dropped 0.5% against a buoyant greenback
with investors expecting a central bank policy meeting later on
Wednesday to lower the Bank of Thailand's economic outlook for a
tourist-focused economy that has seen no visitors since April. 
    But all 18 economists in a Reuters poll this week predicted
the bank would hold its one-day repurchase rate at
a record low of 0.5% for a third straight meeting.
    "Prolonged economic malaise amid uncertainty argue for
continued, if not expanded, policy accommodation," said Riki
Ogawa, Asia and Oceania treasury department of Mizuho Bank
    "(But) BoT is more likely to extend credit or liquidity
facilities as well as support for the bond market - both
government and corporate."
    The meeting also follows protests calling for the removal of
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and several cabinet
resignations, which have thrown political uncertainty into the
mix, further eroding investor confidence.
    Concerns about rising coronavirus infections globally and
the impact on growth have weighed on markets across Asia this
    The Indonesian rupiah dropped 0.3% and stocks
fell too after the country's fiscal 2020 gross domestic product
(GDP) outlook was revised down.
    Demand for Indonesian bonds fell in Tuesday's debt auction.
    "The U.S. elections in November also pose a major event risk
to markets worldwide, and the growing uncertainty is prompting
investors to take some risk off the table," said Han Tan, market
analyst at FXTM.
    ** Indonesian 3-year benchmark yields are down
0.5 basis points at 5.186%
    ** Top losers on the Jakarta stock index include
Asuransi Tugu Pratama Indonesia Tbk PT down 6.83% 
    ** Top losers on FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kl Index
include Axiata Group Bhd down 1.9% and PETRONAS
Chemicals Group Bhd down 1.78%
  Asia stock indexes and currencies at                               
 0400 GMT                                                      
                                                      DAILY %   YTD %
 Japan                      -0.18     +3.34             -0.39   -1.63
 China                      -0.20     +2.47              0.02    7.38
 India                      +0.00     -2.99              0.94   -7.48
 Indonesi                   -0.34     -6.22             -0.23  -21.86
 Malaysia                   -0.14     -1.18             -0.62   -5.81
 Philippi                   -0.05     +4.43             -0.10  -24.66
 S.Korea                    -0.01     -0.75             -0.50    5.61
 Singapor                   -0.14     -1.60             -0.02  -23.58
 Taiwan                     +0.35     +3.46             -0.50    4.87
 Thailand                   -0.48     -4.99              0.07  -19.70
 (Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru;  Editing by Patrick
Graham and Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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