July 30, 2020 / 8:47 AM / 14 days ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Asian markets subdued as Fed promises come up short

    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
    * Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks tmsnrt.rs/3f2vwbA
    * Low U.S. rates to pressure U.S. yields, help Asian
FX-strategist
    * Markets hoping for more details on support in future
-analysts
    * Singapore down 2.4%, at two-month low as banks tumble

    By Rashmi Ashok
    July 30 (Reuters) - Stocks across most of Asia's emerging
markets drifted lower on Thursday as investors judged a steady
message from the U.S. Federal Reserve on stimulus as too little
to reinvigorate a rally that has relied on the flood of cheap
money globally.
    After a cautious start which picked up chiefly on the U.S.
central bank's promise to use "all tools" to support growth,
major markets wobbled, while the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia
and Singapore chalked up significant losses.
    The Fed on Wednesday left interest rates near zero and
pledged to keep policy accommodative for as long as needed to
support the economy, but said data was pointing to a slowing in
the pace of recovery.
    "The Fed's decision bodes well for Asian markets over the
medium term... its commitment to keep policy ultra easy and
expand upon it if necessary will continue to keep U.S. real
yields under pressure, and in turn limit the ability of the USD
to strengthen against Asian FX," said Mitul Kotecha, senior EM
strategist at TD securities.
    "(But) his comments about high frequency data reflecting a
slower pace of growth highlights the significant risks to U.S.
recovery and risks that this feeds through to Asia."
    Wei-Liang Chang, macro strategist at DBS Bank, said markets
may have hoped for more concrete Fed guidance on policy, such as
through a yield curve control target, or tying policy changes to
inflation or unemployment outcomes. 
    Singapore shares slid to two-month lows, dragged down by big
banks after the central bank asked lenders to cap dividends this
year, denting the appeal of a sector favoured for steady payouts
to shareholders.
    The index dropped as much as 2.4%, after the Monetary
Authority of Singapore asked banks to cap 2020 total dividends
at 60% of what they paid out last year, to boost lending
capacity and increase capital buffers amid the pandemic.

    Shares of top lenders hit their lowest in months, with the
region's biggest bank DBS Group sliding 4.3%, while
OCBC and United Overseas Bank shed up to
5.5% and 4.1%, respectively.
    Cases of the coronavirus also continued to surge in
Indonesia and the Philippines, sending both indexes lower, and
worries have risen over an extension of lockdowns in the latter
where current restrictions are set to expire at the month's end.
    Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippine and Singapore markets will
be closed on Friday on account of local holidays.
 
    HIGHLIGHTS
    ** Top losers on FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kl Index
include PETRONAS Chemicals Group Bhd down 2.87% and
Public Bank Bhd trading 2.62% lower
    ** In the Philippines, top index losers were Robinsons Land
Corp down 3.88% and Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc
 shedding 2.93%
    **  Malaysia's 10-year benchmark yield was down 2.1 basis
points at 2.634%,​​ while the 3-year benchmark yield fell 0.5
basis point to 1.955%​​ 

  Asia stock indexes and                                      
 currencies at   0741 GMT                               
 COUNTRY      FX RIC       FX  FX YTD    INDEX  STOCKS  STOCKS
                        DAILY       %            DAILY   YTD %
                            %                        %  
 Japan                  -0.11   +3.41            -0.26   -5.57
 China        <CNY=CFX  -0.02   -0.57            -0.23    7.76
              S>                                        
 India                  -0.04   -4.60             0.26   -7.70
 Indonesia              -0.48   -4.54             0.34  -18.59
 Malaysia               -0.09   -3.67            -1.36    0.04
 Philippines            -0.24   +3.07            -0.63  -24.14
 S.Korea      <KRW=KFT  -0.11   -3.18             0.17    3.16
              C>                                        
 Singapore              -0.17   -2.28            -2.33  -22.01
 Taiwan                 +0.04   +2.09             1.45    6.05
 Thailand               +0.32   -4.59            -1.16  -16.27
 

 (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; additional reporting
by Pranav AK; Editing by Patrick Graham and Subhranshu Sahu)
  
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