(Corrects first bullet in highlights to say stocks are down) * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh * Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks tmsnrt.rs/3f2vwbA * Bank Indonesia keeps key rate at 4% * Philippine shares down nearly 2% * Most Asia FX firm against a weaker USD By Shriya Ramakrishnan Aug 19 (Reuters) - The Indonesian rupiah gained on Wednesday after the central bank, as expected, kept interest rates unchanged, while the Philippines led losses for emerging Asian stock markets after reporting a huge spike in coronavirus infections. Bank Indonesia (BI), which had cut borrowing costs four times this year to their lowest since 2016, said current rates of 4.0% were consistent with efforts to keep the economy moving in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The rupiah strengthened 0.5% against the dollar after the decision, while shares in Jakarta slipped 0.3%. "Despite room for another round of policy rate cut being wide-open, BI should refrain from doing so, since they have to maintain interest rate differential to keep IDR on the appreciation path against the USD," said Anthony Kevin, an economist at Mirae Asset Sekuritas. The currency has depreciated about 6% against the dollar so far in 2020, making it the worst performer in the region. However, with rates between zero to negative in most developed economies, Indonesia's government bonds still offer an attractive premium. Yields on the country's three-year government bonds swung widely in a volatile session and were down around 5 basis points at 5.468% after the decision. Benchmark 10-year yields fell 3 basis points to 6.726%. Recent weak inflation readings have driven investors more heavily into the short end of Indonesia's yield curve, pushing the spread between one-year and ten-year debt to its widest since 2011. The country's inflation rate eased in July to 1.54% from 1.96% a month earlier, falling further from the central bank's target range of 2% to 4% for 2020. Stock markets across the region were largely downbeat despite strong leads from Wall Street overnight, with Chinese equities down more than 1% as profit-taking emerged after a strong rally. Philippine shares fell nearly 2% and the peso dipped as the rise in coronavirus infections showed no signs of abating, topping 3,000 new cases for a seventh straight day in what is Southeast Asia's biggest outbreak. South Korean shares gained about 0.5%, recovering from a 2.5% decline in the previous session, though gains were somewhat limited by the biggest one-day jump in domestic coronavirus cases in more than five months. HIGHLIGHTS: ** In the Philippines, top index losers are Bank of the Philippine Islands down 4.87% at 62.5 peso; GT Capital Holdings Inc down 4.01% at 407 peso ** Top losers on FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kl Index include Hartalega Holdings Bhd down 3.42% at 16.96 ringgit; Genting Bhd down 2.31% at 3.8 ringgit ** Top losers on the Singapore STI include: Singapore Airlines Ltd down 1.88% at S$0.625; Thai Beverage PCL down 1.57% at S$3.65 Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0734 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX YTD INDEX STOCKS STOCK DAILY % % DAILY S YTD % % Japan -0.08 +2.95 <.N225 0.26 -2.31 > China <CNY=CFXS +0.04 +0.63 <.SSEC -1.24 11.74 > > India -0.14 -4.65 <.NSEI 0.44 -6.02 > Indonesi +0.51 -5.93 <.JKSE -0.33 -16.2 a > 2 Malaysia +0.05 -2.13 <.KLSE -0.26 -0.95 > Philippi -0.08 +4.28 -1.86 -22.6 nes 9 S.Korea <KRW=KFTC +0.21 -2.10 <.KS11 0.52 7.41 > > Singapor -0.04 -1.50 -0.04 -20.5 e 0 Taiwan +0.47 +2.47 <.TWII -0.73 6.51 > Thailand -0.22 -4.10 <.SETI -0.50 -16.2 > 3 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Patrick Graham and Arun Koyyur)
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.