July 30, 2020 / 5:06 AM / 15 days ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Singapore stocks sink to 2-month low; airline, banks dive

    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
    * Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks tmsnrt.rs/3f2vwbA
    * Singapore lenders slide, MAS asks banks to cap dividends
    * Singapore Airlines hits lowest since Aug. 1998 
    * Remote work, U.S.-China tech troubles to benefit Taiwan -
ANZ

    By Rashmi Ashok
    July 30 (Reuters) - Singapore shares hit a two-month low on
Thursday, hurt by a sell-off in banking stocks after the central
bank asked lenders to cap dividends this year, denting the
appeal of a sector favoured for steady payouts to shareholders.
    The FTSE Straits Times Index slid as much as 2.4%,
after the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) called on banks
to cap 2020 total dividends at 60% of what they paid out last
year as the city-state faces its deepest recession ever in the
wake of the coronavirus pandemic that has roiled the global
economy.
    Shares of top lenders hit their lowest in months, with DBS
Group sliding 4.3%, OCBC skidding 5.5% and
United Overseas Bank dropping 4.1%. 
    According to Refinitiv Eikon data, the three banks have
among the highest dividend yields on the index, ranging between
5.5% and 6.2% against the index's average of 4.7%. 
    "Although this had perhaps been a milder recommendation
compared to the European Central Bank's ... it would
nevertheless diminish the attractiveness of the shares in the
short term if adopted," wrote IG market strategist Jingyi Pan.
    Central banks across the world have either urged lenders to
consider lowering dividends or put outright restrictions on what
they can pay, in a bid to increase lending capacity and provide
adequate capital buffers to deal with an expected spike in bad
debts in the months ahead as economies soak up the impact of the
coronavirus downturn. 
    Elsewhere, Singapore Airlines stock also slid 5% -
to its lowest since Aug. 27, 1998 - after it posted a S$1.12
billion ($817 million) first-quarter net loss and warned
passenger capacity may still be less than half of pre-pandemic
levels by March 2021.
    While most Asian currencies were little changed after
Wednesday's U.S. Federal Reserve meeting, the Taiwan dollar
 was on course for a fourth straight session of gains,
up 0.8%. Its stock market added more than 1% against
broader regional declines.
    The island's markets are the region's second-best performers
so far this year, benefiting from an increase in people working
from home during the coronavirus pandemic which has sparked
demand for laptops, tablets, and servers, boosting Taiwan's tech
sector. 
    "The tech sector is singularly driving Taiwan's export
performance and is also the focus of the government's investment
drive. As a result, we believe Taiwan's economy is weathering
the pandemic better than its peers," wrote analysts at ANZ.
    "The U.S.-China tech decoupling could drive more flows into
Taiwan, given its prominent role in Asia's tech supply chain,"
ANZ added.
        
    HIGHLIGHTS
    ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields were up 2 basis
points at 6.846%​​ while 3-year benchmark yields rose 7.8 basis
points at 5.404%​​ 
    ** In the Philippines, top index losers were Robinsons Land
Corp down 4.25% and Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc
 down 1.92% 
    ** Top gainers on the Thailand's SETI include Max
Metal Corp PCL up 100% and Thai-German Products PCL
 up 16.67%
    
    
    
  Asia stock indexes and                                       
 currencies at   0332 GMT                                
 COUNTRY      FX RIC         FX     FX    INDEX  STOCKS  STOCKS
                          DAILY  YTD %            DAILY   YTD %
                              %                       %  
 Japan                    -0.10  +3.42             0.05   -5.28
 China        <CNY=CFXS   +0.06  -0.48             0.23    8.26
              >                                          
 India                    +0.00  -4.57             0.00   -7.94
 Indonesia                -0.55  -4.60             0.00  -18.86
 Malaysia                 +0.02  -3.56            -0.47    0.95
 Philippines              -0.10  +3.22            -0.32  -23.91
 S.Korea      <KRW=KFTC   +0.18  -2.90             0.27    3.26
              >                                          
 Singapore                -0.11  -2.21            -1.37  -21.24
 Taiwan                   +0.69  +2.75             1.05    5.64
 Thailand                 +0.32  -4.59             0.47  -14.89
 



 (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; Editing by Kenneth
Maxwell)
  
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