July 16, 2020 / 5:35 AM / 19 days ago

EMERGING MARKETS-Thai baht hits one-month low as finance minister resigns

    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh
    * Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks tmsnrt.rs/3f2vwbA
    * Indonesian rupiah weakens ahead of c.bank meeting
    * Philippine stocks outperform other Asian economies

    By Shriya Ramakrishnan
    July 16 (Reuters) - The Thai baht fell to a one-month low on
Thursday after the surprise resignation of the country's finance
minister, while the Indonesian rupiah weakened as investors
braced for a fourth interest rate cut this year.
    Leading declines among Asian currencies, the baht
fell as much as 0.6% to 31.69 against the greenback, while Thai
stocks were flat following their best session in two
weeks on Wednesday.
    The departure of Thailand's Finance Minister Uttama
Savanayana comes as the government rolls out billions of dollars
of stimulus to drive a post-pandemic recovery in Southeast
Asia's worst performing economy.
    Christopher Wong, senior FX strategist at Maybank in
Singapore, said Uttama's departure "raises concerns if the
implementation of fiscal stimuli support would be affected in
the near term."
    In Indonesia, the rupiah shed as much as 0.2%, while
the stock index gained about half a percent ahead of a
central bank meeting. A slim majority of analysts polled by
Reuters expect Bank Indonesia (BI) to cut its benchmark rate by
25 basis points to 4.00%, the lowest since at least 2016, as it
tackles a slowdown in growth and inflation in Southeast Asia's
largest economy.
    The rupiah is down about 5% against the dollar so far this
year, shedding 3% in the past three weeks alone.
    "While there has been a relative uptick in rupiah volatility
of late, on balance, it is probably not enough for them to pause
at this stage," analysts at OCBC Bank said in a note.
    The South Korean won and equities dipped
as the Bank of Korea kept its key policy rate on hold but
Governor Lee Ju-yeol outlined a bleak outlook for the
trade-reliant economy due to weaker exports.
    Philippine stocks outperformed equity markets across
Asia as investors bought into beaten down blue chip stocks
following steep declines in the Manila benchmark index in the
previous session. 
    
    HIGHLIGHTS:
    
    ** Thailand's 10-year government bond yields are down 0.5
basis points at 1.27%
    ** In the Philippines, top index gainers are Bloomberry
Resorts Corp up 9.32% at 7.27 peso, Metro Pacific
Investments Corp up 5.68% at 3.35 peso, First Gen Corp
 up ​ 5.16% at 23.45 peso
    ** Top losers on the Singapore STI include: Genting
Singapore Ltd down 1.91% at S$0.77; Comfortdelgro
Corporation Ltd down 1.35% at S$1.46

  Asia stock indexes and                                     
 currencies at   0410 GMT                               
 COUNTRY   FX RIC          FX  FX YTD    INDEX  STOCKS  STOCK
                      DAILY %       %            DAILY  S YTD
                                                     %      %
 Japan                  -0.04   +1.54            -0.70  -3.68
 China     <CNY=CFXS    -0.11   -0.47            -1.41   8.65
           >                                            
 India                   0.00   -5.01             0.15  -12.6
                                                            1
 Indonesi               -0.17   -4.93             0.39  -19.1
 a                                                          2
 Malaysia               -0.12   -4.13             0.21   0.01
 Philippi               -0.22   +2.24             1.63  -21.7
 nes                                                        6
 S.Korea   <KRW=KFTC    -0.35   -4.01            -0.63  -0.44
           >                                            
 Singapor               -0.21   -3.40            -0.57  -18.2
 e                                                          7
 Taiwan                 +0.38   +2.16            -0.58   1.13
 Thailand               -0.54   -5.53             0.20  -14.1
                                                            1
 
 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; editing by Jane
Wardell)
  
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