EMERGING MARKETS-Weaker China shares, virus woes hurt Asian markets

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(Repeats for additional subscribers. No change to text.) * China shares eye worst month since May 2019 * Taiwan Q2 GDP data eyed * 'Pace of AxJ FX recovery could remain crimped by regional COVID-19 concerns' - analyst By Harish Sridharan July 30 (Reuters) - Emerging Asian equities weakened on Friday, with Philippines leading losses as China shares reversed a brief rally from the day before and virus woes kept markets on edge. Several regional equities, including China, Philippines, Thailand and South Korea were on track to post significant monthly drops, with severe coronavirus outbreaks and a brutal mainland selloff hurting regional sentiment. Beijing's announcement of new rules barring for-profit tutoring in core school subjects resulted in a significant rout in the country's equity markets, and battered stocks in the education, property and tech sectors. Reassurances from Chinese regulators appeared to have soothed investors' nerves temporarily, but stocks in the country eyed their worst month since May, 2019. "The longer-term outlook may still depend on whether Beijing can calm investor nerves about subsequent regulatory clampdowns and the growth impact on its domestic firms," Yeap Jun Rong, Market Strategist at IG said in a note. The latest coronavirus outbreak in Thailand has resulted in a slump in tourism amid stricter containment measures, travel curbs and curfews. The country's finance ministry slashed its 2021 economic growth forecast on Thursday to 1.3% from a previously predicted 2.3% expansion. Malaysia and Philippines also suffer from spiking coronavirus infections, with the later imposing lockdown measures in Manila to prevent spread of the contagious Delta variant. Philippine stocks were down 3.5% and on course to post their worst month since March of 2020, while shares in Kuala Lampur were down 0.6%. While the dollar languished near a one-month low following dovish remarks by the U.S. Federal Reserve, weakness persisted in several currencies across the region, with the yuan trading slightly lower. "We maintain our earlier assessment that interim hit to AxJ FX from the bout of regulatory crackdown in China is likely to be modest, especially with authorities stepping in to assuage market sentiments," Maybank analysts said in a note. "(The) pace of AxJ FX recovery could, (however) remain crimped by regional COVID-19 concerns." The Taiwan dollar saw marginal gains, while stocks were down 0.5% ahead of the country's second quarter gross domestic product data. Taiwan's economy is expected to have expanded at a slower pace in the second quarter as a rare spike in COVID-19 cases hurt consumption. Highlights ** In the Philippines, top index losers are San Miguel Corp down 7.96% ** Thailand shares eye worst month since September 2020 ** Philippines announces lockdown in Manila Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0520 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDEX STOCKS STOCKS DAILY YTD % DAILY YTD % % % Japan -0.02 -5.70 -1.62 -0.40 China -0.08 +1.03 -0.71 -2.47 India -0.02 -1.66 0.15 13.02 Indonesia +0.17 -2.87 0.24 2.62 Malaysia +0.17 -4.96 -0.61 -7.59 Philippines -0.29 -4.44 -3.48 -12.18 S.Korea -0.10 -5.36 -1.11 11.60 Singapore -0.10 -2.42 0.07 11.92 Taiwan +0.07 +1.99 -0.46 17.59 Thailand -0.09 -8.91 -1.02 5.02 (Reporting by Harish Sridharan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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