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Niyati Shetty

SE Asia Stocks-Indonesia gains on Widodo's likely re-election; Vietnam falls

18 Apr 2019

* Indonesia posts 1.3 pct weekly gain * Vietnam hits 2-mth closing low * Singapore stocks gain for 6th straight week By Niyati Shetty April 18 Indonesian stocks ended higher on Thursday as President Joko Widodo looked poised to win a second term based on unofficial vote counts, while Vietnam shares slumped to a 2-month closing low dragged down by consumer staple and real estate counters. Results from private pollsters showed Widodo winning the popular vote with at least 54 percent, giving him a lead of around eight percentage points ahead of challenger Prabowo Subianto. "During his new term, we would expect stability and continuity in his polices, thus removing a major overhang for the market," DBS Bank said in a note to clients. The Jakarta index pared earlier gains, to end the session 0.4 percent higher. The benchmark, which will be closed for holidays on Friday, advanced 1.3 percent this week. Financials were the biggest boost to the index, with Bank Central Asia Tbk PT rising 2.4 percent and Bank Mandiri (Persero) Tbk PT adding 2.3 percent. Meanwhile, Vietnam shares declined for a fourth straight session, slipping 1 percent on Thursday, its lowest closing level since Feb. 18. Fitch Solutions said Vietnam's real GDP growth will slow to 6.5 percent this year from 7.1 percent in 2018, while earning growth in banking sector is also expected to ease. Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp slumped 6.4 percent, while Vingroup JSC fell 0.9 percent. Malaysian stocks trimmed earlier losses to end marginally lower. Telecom firm Maxis Bhd was the worst performer, declining 2.2 percent. Philippine markets were closed for the week on account of holidays, while Singapore will be shut on Friday. The Singapore bourse gained for a sixth consecutive week, advancing 0.5 percent this week. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3347.58 3348.64 -0.03 Bangkok 1675 1673.2 0.11 Jakarta 6507.221 6481.541 0.40 Kuala Lumpur 1619.73 1620.9 -0.07 Ho Chi Minh 962.3 972.1 -1.01 Change so far in 2019 Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3347.58 3068.76 9.09 Bangkok 1675 1563.88 7.11 Jakarta 6507.221 6,194.50 5.05 Kuala Lumpur 1619.73 1690.58 -4.19 Ho Chi Minh 962.3 892.54 7.82 (Reporting by Niyati Shetty in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

SE Asia Stocks-Indonesia jumps to near 14-month high as Jokowi set for re-election

18 Apr 2019

* Malaysia extends losses to more than 3-yr low * Telecom, industrial stocks weigh on Thailand By Niyati Shetty April 18 Indonesian stocks jumped to a near 14-month high on Thursday after early elections results indicated incumbent President Joko Widodo is likely to be re-elected for a second term, while Malaysia extended losses to a more than three-year low. The quick counts showed Widodo winning the popular vote in the world's third largest democracy with about 54 percent, giving him a lead of around eight percentage points over former general Prabowo Subianto. "A second Jokowi (Widodo) term is welcome by markets on policy continuity and modest reforms for Indonesia ahead," Mizuho Bank said in a note to clients. Government insiders said he was poised for a splurge of reform, with sagging foreign investment, the troubled education system and restrictive labour rules on the list of areas he might tackle. Morgan Stanley said in a note on Wednesday that it was time to brush aside tail risk concerns and buy Indonesian equities, citing "falling policy rates, the return of private sector confidence, and optionality around reform." The key Jakarta stock index advanced as much as 2.4 percent to its highest since February 2018, before paring gains. Onshore markets were closed on Wednesday for the elections. Lenders Bank Central Asia Tbk PT and Bank Mandiri (Persero) Tbk PT climbed up to 5.6 percent and 6.6 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, Malaysian equities retreated for a third straight session after FTSE Russel flagged http://bit.ly/2XnuHRW on Monday that it could drop the country from a key global bond index at the end of a review in September. Removal from the index, which helps with exposure to wider global investors, increases the risk of foreign fund outflows. Elsewhere, Thai stocks lost as much as 0.3 percent, weighed down by the telecom and industrial sectors. Advanced Info Service PCL slipped 1 percent, while Airports of Thailand PCL declined 0.7 percent. The Philippine stock market is closed on Thursday and Friday for holidays. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AS AT 0400 GMT Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3349.08 3348.64 0.01 Bangkok 1670.99 1673.2 -0.13 Jakarta 6526.285 6481.541 0.69 Kuala Lumpur 1612.74 1620.9 -0.50 Ho Chi Minh 972.74 972.1 0.07 Change so far in 2019 Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3349.08 3068.76 9.13 Bangkok 1670.99 1563.88 6.85 Jakarta 6526.285 6,194.50 5.36 Kuala Lumpur 1612.74 1690.58 -4.60 Ho Chi Minh 972.74 892.54 8.99 (Reporting by Niyati Shetty in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

Most Asian currencies slip as MAS adds to slowdown concerns

12 Apr 2019

Most Asian currencies edged lower against a stronger dollar on Friday, as slower growth expectations by Singapore's central bank reinforced concerns about the health of the global economy.

EM ASIA FX-Most Asian currencies dip on grim global growth prospects

11 Apr 2019

* Malayasian ringgit hits over 2-mth low * Chinese yuan steady as producer inflation picks up * Indian rupee firms as elections begin (Adds text, updates prices) By Niyati Shetty April 11 Most Asian currencies fell against the dollar on Thursday as investors moved away from riskier assets amid grim forecasts for the global economy despite signs of improvements in China, the world's second-largest economy. Risk appetite declined after the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday downgraded the global growth rate for the year to 3.3 percent, the slowest expansion since 2016. "Asian currencies are reflecting the fact that the growth outlook has been marked down again and that could have a bit of negative impact," said Singapore-based Wei Liang Chang, FX strategist at Mizuho Bank. The Malaysian ringgit softened as much as 0.3 percent to 4.119 per dollar, hitting a more than 2-month low. Norway last week said its sovereign wealth fund would cut emerging market bonds including Malaysia's from the benchmark index it tracks, spreading caution among foreign investors. China's factory-gate inflation picked up for the first time in nine months in March, in a fresh sign that government policy support may be starting to revitalise domestic demand. The Chinese yuan rose slightly to 6.714 per dollar. However, markets remained cautious as they await further economic cues from China, with March trade figures due on Friday and first-quarter gross domestic product due next week. The Korean won declined 0.1 percent, while the Thai baht and the Taiwan dollar edged lower. The Philippine peso traded sideways as data showed the country's trade deficit narrowed in February from the previous month, however exports contracted for a fourth straight month while imports grew at a slower rate, reflecting easing growth. Meanwhile, India began the first phase of its elections on Thurday, a process that will last until May 19, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi entering the race as the frontrunner. The rupee firmed 0.2 percent to 69.0 per dollar. SINGAPORE DOLLAR INCHES DOWN AHEAD OF MAS DECISION The dollar slipped 0.1 percent ahead of the Monetary Authority of Singapore's (MAS) first semi-annual policy meeting on Friday. Singapore's central bank is likely to keep its monetary policy stance on hold, according to a Reuters poll, as inflation eases and the growth outlook for the export-reliant economy dims. "Since the Singapore dollar is trading at the top end of the band there is very limited room for it to strengthen further, so we are seeing a bit of pause and less of volatility in the dollar," Chang said. MAS can adjust policy by changing the appreciation rate, mid-point, or width of the Singapore dollar's policy band. The bank increased the slope of the policy band at both of its 2018 meetings, its first tightening move in six years. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0503 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 111.060 111 -0.05 Sing dlr 1.353 1.3516 -0.11 Taiwan dlr 30.859 30.845 -0.05 Korean won 1139.500 1138.6 -0.08 Baht 31.770 31.76 -0.03 Peso 51.820 51.83 +0.02 Rupiah 14153.000 14145 -0.06 Rupee 69.000 69.11 +0.16 Ringgit 4.115 4.105 -0.24 Yuan 6.714 6.7158 +0.02 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 111.060 109.56 -1.35 Sing dlr 1.353 1.3627 +0.71 Taiwan dlr 30.859 30.733 -0.41 Korean won 1139.500 1115.70 -2.09 Baht 31.770 32.55 +2.46 Peso 51.820 52.47 +1.25 Rupiah 14153.000 14375 +1.57 Rupee 69.000 69.77 +1.12 Ringgit 4.115 4.1300 +0.36 Yuan 6.714 6.8730 +2.36 (Reporting by Niyati Shetty in Bengaluru; editing by Christian Schmollinger)

EM ASIA FX-Most Asian units stumble on global growth, trade concerns

10 Apr 2019

* Indonesian rupiah leads declines * China's March trade data due on Friday * Indian rupee firms on day before voting begin (Adds text, updates prices) By Niyati Shetty April 10 Most emerging Asian currencies slipped on Wednesday as the International Monetary Fund cut its global growth forecast and a trade conflict between the United States and Europe escalated. Investor risk appetites contracted as the IMF downgraded its global economy outlook for a third time since October, slashing 2019 growth forecasts to 3.3 percent, the slowest pace since 2016. Among regional currencies, the biggest loser was the Indonesian rupiah, which weakened 0.2 percent to 14,157 versus the dollar. Adding to trade tensions rooted in the long Sino-U.S. dispute, President Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened to impose tariffs on $11 billion worth of European Union products. Some currency market players expect to see further economic stimulus moves by China, and are awaiting March inflation data on Thursday and trade numbers on Friday. "USD-Asia will track broad dollar ahead of risk events and Chinese data," OCBC Bank said in a note. Against a basket of key rival currencies, the dollar was steady at 97.017, after dropping 0.35 percent overnight. The Thai baht, Malaysian ringgit and the Philippine peso each softened about 0.1 percent, while the Chinese yuan and Singapore dollar were flat. Singapore's preliminary first-quarter GDP growth figure as well as a central bank policy decision are due on Friday. RUPEE FIRMS PRE-ELECTION The Indian rupee strengthened marginally to 69.193 per dollar ahead of voting in the general election, which gets under way on Thursday and lasts until May 19. There was a significant surge in foreign inflows in March as polls predicted Prime Minister Narendra Modi would get a second term as he rallies his nationalist base. Foreign flows into Indian equities in March rose to $4.889 billion from $2.419 billion in the prior month, according to National Stock Exchange data. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0451 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 111.120 111.12 +0.00 Sing dlr 1.354 1.3534 -0.01 Taiwan dlr 30.842 30.841 -0.00 Korean won 1140.800 1142.1 +0.11 Baht 31.830 31.79 -0.13 Peso 52.010 51.953 -0.11 Rupiah 14157.000 14130 -0.19 Rupee 69.193 69.29 +0.14 Ringgit 4.095 4.092 -0.07 Yuan 6.715 6.7120 -0.05 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 111.120 109.56 -1.40 Sing dlr 1.354 1.3627 +0.67 Taiwan dlr 30.842 30.733 -0.35 Korean won 1140.800 1115.70 -2.20 Baht 31.830 32.55 +2.26 Peso 52.010 52.47 +0.88 Rupiah 14157.000 14375 +1.54 Rupee 69.193 69.77 +0.83 Ringgit 4.095 4.1300 +0.85 Yuan 6.715 6.8730 +2.35 (Reporting by Niyati Shetty in Bengaluru, Additional Reporting by Gaurav Dogra; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

EM ASIA FX-Most Asian units inch up, but global growth worries remain

09 Apr 2019

* Taiwan dollar steady, March exports fall less than forecast * Korean won edges up 0.2 pct following Monday tumble (Adds text, updates prices) By Niyati Shetty April 9 Most emerging Asian currencies edged up on Tuesday, when the dollar slipped, but the lack of fresh trading cues and the backdrop of slowing global growth kept movements small. The dollar dipped as weak U.S. economic data highlighted concern about a slowdown in the world's largest economy, while surging oil prices supported commodity-linked units such as the Australian dollar. "We see general caution by investors after a very strong first quarter in terms of asset price performance in Asia," said Khoon Goh, Singapore-based head of Asia research at ANZ Banking Group. "We will need economic data to show signs of improvement before investors start to dip in again and initiate the next moves." Data from China on March inflation, trade and lending is due later this week, and minutes of the last U.S. Federal Reserve meeting are expected on Wednesday. The Indian rupee firmed by 0.3 percent as expectations of the ruling alliance retaining control of the government in elections bolstered foreign inflows, limiting the impact of surging prices for oil imports. Foreign inflows into Indian equity markets rose to $4,889 million last month, compared with $2,419 million in February. Elections in the world's largest democracy are due to begin on Thursday. Indonesia, another oil importer, saw the rupiah inch up 0.1 percent to 14,140 a dollar. Traders are on the look-out for evidence that the United States and China will be able to seal a deal to end their long trade war, which has hit economies across Asia. The Taiwan dollar held steady at 30.836 per dollar. Data released on Monday showed the trade-reliant island's exports in March fell 4.4 percent from a year ago, less than the 8.3 percent decline predicted in a Reuters poll. The Chinese yuan, Singapore dollar and Thai baht were largely flat. SOUTH KOREAN WON RECOVERS The won edged up 0.2 percent to 1,142.50, rebounding from big losses the previous day. On Monday, the currency fell 0.7 percent and touched its lowest since September 2017 after Norway said its sovereign wealth fund will cut emerging market bonds including South Korea's from the benchmark index it tracks. Goh of ANZ said there was a "bit of recovery today but the won is still weaker on the wrong side of the 1,140 level which we haven't seen for a while" , indicating the report on Norway and outflows were still weighing on the currency. The won is the region's worst performer this year, weakening 2.4 percent against the dollar. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0533 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 111.330 111.47 +0.13 Sing dlr 1.354 1.3542 +0.03 Taiwan dlr 30.836 30.845 +0.03 Korean won 1142.500 1144.7 +0.19 Baht 31.858 31.86 +0.01 Peso 52.090 52.07 -0.04 Rupiah 14140.000 14160 +0.14 Rupee 69.480 69.67 +0.27 Ringgit 4.094 4.095 +0.02 Yuan 6.714 6.7165 +0.03 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 111.330 109.56 -1.59 Sing dlr 1.354 1.3627 +0.66 Taiwan dlr 30.836 30.733 -0.33 Korean won 1142.500 1115.70 -2.35 Baht 31.858 32.55 +2.17 Peso 52.090 52.47 +0.73 Rupiah 14140.000 14375 +1.66 Rupee 69.480 69.77 +0.42 Ringgit 4.094 4.1300 +0.88 Yuan 6.714 6.8730 +2.36 (Reporting by Niyati Shetty in Bengaluru, Additional reporting by Gaurav Dogra; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies slip as U.S. jobs data bolsters dollar

08 Apr 2019

* South Korean won hits more than 5-mth low * Rising oil prices hurt Indian rupee, Indonesian rupiah * Taiwan dollar softens ahead of forecast March export slump (Adds text, updates prices) By Niyati Shetty April 8 Asian currencies faltered on Monday, as a rebound in U.S. payrolls data supported the greenback, offsetting optimism of a Sino-U.S. trade deal and further China policy stimulus. Risk appetite for the dollar increased after figures on Friday showed U.S. nonfarm payrolls rose by a solid 196,000 in March, topping expectations and putting to rest fears of a sharper slowdown in the world's largest economy. Leading declines in the region, the South Korean won weakened as much as 0.7 percent to 1,144.0 per dollar, sliding to a more than 5-month low. "It appears that underlying caution may resurface and prevail over exuberance; keeping emerging Asia forex and asset markets reined in; even if not on the back foot," said Vishnu Varathan, senior economist at Mizuho Bank in a note. Washington and Beijing wrapped up their latest round of trade talks on Friday and are scheduled to resume discussions this week to try to secure a pact to end their bitter tariff war. Separately, China on Sunday said it would step up a policy of targeted cuts to the level of cash banks must hold as reserves, or reserve requirement ratios, to encourage financing for small- and medium-sized businesses, its latest move to boost the slowing economy. The Chinese yuan was largely flat at 6.7195 per dollar. Meanwhile, currencies of oil-import reliant countries such as the Indian rupee, Indonesian rupiah and Philippine peso also took a hit after oil prices touched a 5-month high. The rupee softened 0.4 percent to 69.520 a dollar, while the peso and the rupiah edged down 0.2 percent each. Investors were also wary about the upcoming general elections in India as voting is set to begin on Thursday, while Indonesia, the world's third-biggest democracy, will hold presidential elections on April 17. Currency markets in Thailand were closed for holiday. TAIWAN TRADE IN FOCUS The Taiwan dollar inched lower to 30.830 per dollar ahead of the export-reliant island's trade data due later in the day. March exports are expected to have contracted 8.3 percent from a year earlier, logging a fifth consecutive month of decline, according to a Reuters poll. Taiwan is one of the region's major exporters, especially of technology goods, and its export trend is a key gauge of global demand for technology gadgets worldwide. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0603 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 111.430 111.73 +0.27 Sing dlr 1.356 1.3546 -0.11 Taiwan dlr 30.830 30.817 -0.04 Korean won 1143.800 1136.6 -0.63 Peso 52.190 52.07 -0.23 Rupiah 14150.000 14120 -0.21 Rupee 69.520 69.22 -0.43 Ringgit 4.098 4.087 -0.27 Yuan 6.720 6.7178 -0.04 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 111.430 109.56 -1.68 Sing dlr 1.356 1.3627 +0.49 Taiwan dlr 30.830 30.733 -0.31 Korean won 1143.800 1115.70 -2.46 Baht 31.860 32.55 +2.17 Peso 52.190 52.47 +0.54 Rupiah 14150.000 14375 +1.59 Rupee 69.520 69.77 +0.36 Ringgit 4.098 4.1300 +0.78 Yuan 6.720 6.8730 +2.27 (Reporting by Niyati Shetty in Bengaluru Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

Australian shares inch lower as financial stocks drag; NZ flat

12 Mar 2019

* Financial index down 0.4 pct; energy stocks rise 0.7 pct (Updates to close, adds quotes)

Rate cut hopes buoy Australian shares but miners cap gains; NZ up

07 Mar 2019

* Rio Tinto falls 4.8 pct, worst performer in Aussie benchmark (Updates to close)

Australia shares trim losses after RBA stands pat; NZ down

05 Mar 2019

March 5 Australian shares ended weaker on Tuesday, but trimmed earlier losses, after the country's central bank signalled a steady policy outlook and China said it would introduce further measures to shore up its cooling economy.

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