Edition:
United Kingdom

Rashmi Ashok

Australia, NZ shares slip as Brexit uncertainty weighs

21 Oct 2019

Oct 21 Australian shares edged lower on Monday as fresh uncertainty over Brexit reined in risk sentiment, while digital payments stocks slipped further on the central bank's planned review of some practices in the buy-now-pay-later sector.

Australia's Suncorp sells smash repairs arm to focus on insurance, banking

01 Oct 2019

Australian insurer Suncorp Group Ltd said it will sell its vehicle repair business for A$420 million ($283.5 million) as it seeks to focus on its core insurance and banking operations after disappointing results in recent times.

UPDATE 2-NZ's Fonterra goes back to basics after record annual loss

26 Sep 2019

Sept 26 New Zealand's Fonterra , the world's largest dairy exporter, reported a record annual loss on Thursday, and unveiled a new strategy to phase out overseas "milk pools", cut debt and focus on its local production.

Australia shares gain on rate cut prospects; NZ up

23 Sep 2019

* IOOF biggest gainer on Aussie index after court case dismissal

SE Asia Stocks-Philippines skids as soaring oil prices weigh

17 Sep 2019

* Singapore falls after data shows exports slip in Aug * Vietnam up on last-minute buying in real estate stocks By Rashmi Ashok Sept 17 Philippine stocks fell on Tuesday as soaring crude oil prices stoked fears that the oil importing nation's trade deficit could widen further, while Singapore slipped after data showed exports contracted for a sixth straight month in August. Crude oil prices jumped nearly 15% on Monday as attacks on Saudi oil facilities over the weekend halved the kingdom's oil output, creating the biggest disruption to global oil supplies in decades and raising tensions in the Middle East. For countries that are running trade deficits, such as the Philippines, higher oil prices run the risk of widening their deficit and subsequently exerting downward pressure on the currency. A weaker currency in turn further drives up the country's spend on oil imports. "The question now is, how long will the prices stay high or when will the supply normalise? Some say a few weeks, others say few months," said Charles William Ang, associate analyst, COL Financial Group. "If the market believes that oil prices will continue to spike, then a correction in the market is certainly a distinct possibility." Philippine stocks shed 0.8%, making them the region's worst performers. SM Investments Corp lost 1.5%, while land developer Ayala Land shed 2.2%. Indonesian stocks closed slightly higher, recovering from a near 2% drop in the prior session. Indonesia, which has swung between a current account deficit and surplus in recent months and is a net oil importer, may also come under pressure if the oil spike lasts. Singapore stocks fell after data showed exports shrank for a sixth straight month. The figures were slightly better than expectation but failed to lift investor sentiment. Conglomerate Jardine Strategic Holdings and CapitaLand Ltd slipped 1.8% and 1.7%, respectively. Meanwhile, Vietnam shares added 0.7%, driven by last-minute buying in real estate stocks with Vinhomes JSC tacking on 2%. Malaysian stocks see-sawed throughout the session to close marginally higher. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3183 3203.93 -0.65 Bangkok 1663.93 1662.93 0.06 Manila 7932.23 7996.9 -0.81 Jakarta 6236.69 6219.435 0.28 Kuala Lumpur 1604.3 1601.25 0.19 Ho Chi Minh 996.74 989.86 0.70 Change so far in 2019 Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3183 3068.76 3.72 Bangkok 1663.93 1563.88 6.40 Manila 7932.23 7,466.02 6.24 Jakarta 6236.69 6,194.50 0.68 Kuala Lumpur 1604.3 1690.58 -5.10 Ho Chi Minh 996.74 892.54 11.67 (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

SE Asia Stocks-Tepid as Saudi attacks weigh; Philippines leads declines

17 Sep 2019

* Philippines posts worst session in 2 weeks, oil prices weigh * Singapore index down after data shows exports contract in Aug * Most in wait-and-watch mode ahead of Fed meeting By Rashmi Ashok Sept 17 Most Southeast Asian markets were subdued on Tuesday, with the Philippine index posting sharp losses as soaring crude prices following attacks on Saudi Arabian facilities put pressure on the importer-nation. The attacks have halved the kingdom's oil output, creating the biggest disruption to global oil supplies in decades, denting investor sentiment in oil-importing nations of the Philippines and Indonesia. Elsewhere, investors broadly remained on the sidelines ahead of an expected interest rate cut from the U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday and the next round of U.S.-China trade talks on Thursday. Leading losses in the region, the Philippine stocks logged their worst session in two weeks, with heavyweights Aboitiz Power and Ayala Land slipping as much as 2.5% and 1.7%, respectively. Conglomerate SM Investments Corp, the biggest stock in the index, shed nearly 1.5%. After a bout of last-minute buying, which pushed the Philippine index higher just before session's close on Monday, stocks are now tracking regional peers lower, said Charles William Ang, associate analyst, COL Financial Group. "Given that the country is primarily an oil importer, higher oil prices were also weighing on the benchmark," he said. "The question now is, how long will the prices stay high or when will the supply normalise? Some say a few weeks, others say few months. If the market believes that oil prices will continue to spike, then a correction in the market is certainly a distinct possibility," Ang added. Singapore stocks extended losses after data showed that the country's exports shrank for a sixth straight month in August, while domestic exports of electronics slipped 25.9% from last year. While the figures were slightly better than what a Reuters poll had expected, the data failed to lift sentiment. Indonesian stocks rebounded to trade a tick higher after a nearly 2% drop in the previous session. Communication stocks helped most, with Telekomunikasi Indonesia adding nearly 1% to the index. Cigarette makers Gudang Garam and Hanjaya Mandala Sampoerna managed to claw back ground from sharp losses in the previous session after the government announced a steep price hike to minimum price of cigarettes. Vietnam stocks inched marginally higher, while the energy-heavy Thai index rose on the back of gains in oil and gas companies. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS at 0337 GMT Change on the day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3188.34 3203.93 -0.49 Bangkok 1668.15 1662.93 0.31 Manila 7924.73 7996.9 -0.90 Jakarta 6226.988 6219.435 0.12 Kuala Lumpur 1601.77 1601.25 0.03 Ho Chi Minh 991.64 989.86 0.18 Change so far in 2019 Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3188.34 3068.76 3.90 Bangkok 1668.15 1563.88 6.67 Manila 7924.73 7,466.02 6.14 Jakarta 6226.988 6,194.50 0.52 Kuala Lumpur 1601.77 1690.58 -5.25 Ho Chi Minh 991.64 892.54 11.10 (Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

Bears ease grip on most Asian currencies as trade worries ebb: Reuters poll

12 Sep 2019

Investors rolled back short positions on most Asian currencies over the past two weeks, a Reuters poll showed, as risk appetite picked up after the United States and China agreed to restart trade talks.

EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies buoyant as China, U.S. trade talks stoke confidence

05 Sep 2019

* U.S.-China trade talk plans soothes nervous markets * South Korean won top gainer, adds 0.8% * Chinese yuan ticks higher for second session (Adds text, updates prices) By Rashmi Ashok Sept 5 Most emerging Asian currencies rose on Thursday, led by the Korean won after Washington and Beijing formally agreed to resume trade talks in October, giving a fillip to investor sentiment. The United States and China said they would hold high-level trade talks in early October, in announcements that helped ease more immediate recession fears and gave Asian assets early gains. The Chinese onshore yuan rose as much as 0.3% after news of the trade talks surfaced, but later pared gains to settle 0.2% higher at 7.133 against the dollar by 0528 GMT. The Korean won, which is particularly sensitive to trade tensions owing to the nation's large reliance on exports, added 0.8% and was the session's top performer. The Taiwan dollar, which is also sensitive to international trade developments, rose 0.3%. Sentiment in risk asset markets was also bolstered by apparent breakthroughs in the political standoffs in Hong Kong and Britain. In the UK, a parliamentary vote put on hold a no-deal Brexit while Hong Kong withdrew the contentious extradition bill that sparked recent protests. The Malaysian ringgit rose 0.3%, adding to the previous session's gains after an unexpected jump in the country's exports. The Indian rupee firmed against the dollar for a second straight session after Tuesday's major sell-off. While there is a prevailing sense of investor relief, analysts believe there are still reasons to remain cautious. "Despite the gains in riskier assets, global investors are not getting carried away by this surge in optimism, having been seasoned by the tumultuous developments surrounding the year-long U.S.-China trade conflict," said Han Tan, market analyst at brokerage FXTM in a note. For risk sentiment to improve, markets will need more substantial evidence that China and the United States are closer do drawing a trade deal while the possibility of a no-deal Brexit would also have to be snuffed out almost entirely, he added. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0528 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 106.600 106.38 -0.21 Sing dlr 1.384 1.3842 +0.04 Taiwan dlr 31.288 31.365 +0.25 Korean won 1198.400 1208.2 +0.82 Baht 30.570 30.585 +0.05 Peso 51.850 51.87 +0.04 Rupiah 14160.000 14150 -0.07 Rupee 71.870 72.12 +0.34 Ringgit 4.191 4.204 +0.31 Yuan 7.133 7.1450 +0.16 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 106.600 109.56 +2.78 Sing dlr 1.384 1.3627 -1.51 Taiwan dlr 31.288 30.733 -1.77 Korean won 1198.400 1115.70 -6.90 Baht 30.570 32.55 +6.48 Peso 51.850 52.47 +1.20 Rupiah 14160.000 14375 +1.52 Rupee 71.870 69.77 -2.92 Ringgit 4.191 4.1300 -1.46 Yuan 7.133 6.8730 -3.65 (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam Holmes)

Most Asian units slip as trade tensions weigh; Indian rupee falls most

03 Sep 2019

Most emerging Asian currencies weakened against a sturdy dollar on Tuesday as investors fretted over the outcome of Sino-U.S. trade talks, while weak economic data sent the Indian rupee tumbling.

Most Asian units set for monthly losses as trade tensions bite

30 Aug 2019

Emerging Asian currencies were mixed on Friday with easing Sino-U.S. trade tensions helping export-driven currencies but broader concerns about global recession keeping other units under pressure.

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