* 15 Asia-Pacific economies formed the world's largest free trade bloc
* Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand gain over 1%
* South Korean won hits near 2-year high against the dollar
By Nikhil Nainan
Nov 16 (Reuters) - South Korea and Singapore led broader Asian stock market gains on Monday following the formation of the world's largest free trade bloc made up largely by countries in the region, with gains further bolstered by upbeat data from China and Japan.
Taipei .TWII and Bangkok .SETI also gained at least 1%, with stocks in Thailand at a more-than three-month high as the economy contracted by less than expected in the third quarter. the weekend, 15 Asia-Pacific economies signed the China-backed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which accounts for 30% of the global economy. The grouping aims to lower tariffs and may aid in the post-pandemic recovery amid fractured relations between the United States and China. 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."
Currencies of trade-dependent economies such as the Taiwanese dollar TWD=TP and South Korean won KRW=KFTC gained around 1% each, with Indonesia's rupiah IDR= , the region's carry-trade favourite, up 0.4%.
The won hitting a near two-year high on the U.S. dollar caused the country's finance ministry to issue a warning on the currency's movement. Dealers said the central bank was suspected of buying dollars to stem gains. were also 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. Economics said Thailand's GDP data 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 THB=TH edged 0.1% higher.
Markets in India were closed for a public holiday.
** Indonesian 3-year benchmark yields are up 7.5 basis points at 4.992%
** Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS ) downgrades Singapore equities to equal-weight, and says China to outperform emerging markets by less in 2021 than in 2020
Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0344 GMT COUNTRY
DAILY % YTD %
DAILY % YTD % Japan
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