June 12, 2020 / 6:02 AM / 2 months ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Renewed virus fears hammer emerging Asian FX, shares

    * Thailand leads stock market losses in Southeast Asia
    * Rupiah weakens sharply 
    * Indonesia's COVID-19 cases rise this week

    June 12 (Reuters) - Indonesia's rupiah was the worst hit of
Southeast Asia's emerging currencies on Friday, as rising
domestic coronavirus infections and fears of a new wave globally
sent stock and currency markets across the region sharply lower.
    The rupiah sank as much as 1.5% against the dollar
and is on course for its biggest intraday fall since early May,
while the Thai baht and Malaysian ringgit lost
0.3% and 0.2%, respectively.
    The central bank said it intervened in the spot and domestic
non-deliverable forward markets to stabilise the rupiah. The
currency last traded 1.2% weaker.
    Stock markets across the region also fell sharply, with
Thailand among the worst hit, down 2%. Philippine
financial markets were closed for a public holiday.
    "Fear has a nasty habit of feeding on itself. So it is not
hard to project a "second bear wave" in markets from a "second
wave" of infections; as economies re-open," Mizuho bank said in
a note.
    Like China and much of the developed world, Southeast Asian
countries have been steadily easing lockdown measures that have
hammered their economies and are hoping for a swift reboot in
the weeks ahead.
    The huge amounts of cheap cash pumped into markets globally
by the world's central banks have also helped stocks and other
riskier investments, such as emerging market currencies.
    Wall Street, however, turned down sharply on Thursday,
driving losses across Asia early on Friday.
    A central bank survey on Friday showed Indonesia's consumer
confidence tumbled to its lowest in 15 years in May and the
number of coronavirus cases has spiked this week close to around
a 1,000 a day. 
              Change on the day at   0443 GMT    
 Japan       -0.30       +1.34     -0.86           -5.82
 China       -0.29       -1.71     -0.38           -4.60
 India       -0.36       -6.14     -2.37           -20.55
 Indonesia   -1.22       -1.71     -0.47           -23.30
 Malaysia    -0.23       -3.95     -1.37           -3.33
 S.Korea     -0.82       -4.14     -2.28           -3.21
 Singapore   +0.11       -3.38     -1.49           -17.34
 Taiwan      +0.16       +1.42     -1.13           -4.93
 Thailand    -0.32       -3.61     -2.02           -13.38
 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by
Patrick Graham and Jacqueline Wong)
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