Oil and Gas

EMERGING MARKETS-Asian equities, FX subdued as infections in India continue to surge

    * India, Thailand, South Korea see surging infections
    * Singapore March inflation quickens, ahead of Reuters poll
    * Don't expect shift in MAS stance due to CPI data -

    By Harish Sridharan
    April 23 (Reuters) - Asian equities and currencies were
subdued on Friday, as surging coronavirus infections in India,
Thailand and South Korea sapped appetite for investments in
these markets. 
    The overnight lead from Wall Street was also negative, as
major indexes fell on reports that U.S President Joe Biden
planned to raise taxes on the wealthy to fund major investments.

    Indian stocks gave up slim gains that came from
firmer public bank stocks and traded flat, as investor sentiment
remained shaky after the country recorded the world's highest
daily tally of coronavirus cases for a second day in a row.

    South Korea's benchmark stock index closed higher,
but notched its first weekly loss in five, as worries over
surging virus cases in the country weighed on sentiment.

    Data showed Singapore's key price gauge rose by the fastest
pace in more than a year in March, with core inflation rate
rising to 0.5% against a forecast of an increase of 0.4% found
by Reuters poll of economists.    
    "Our view is underlying price pressures remain fairly well
contained. We don't see it resulting in any sort of shift to a
more hawkish stance from the Monetary Authority of Singapore any
time soon," said Mitul Kotecha, Chief EM Asia & Europe
strategist at TD Securities. 
    "But I do think inflation will trend little bit higher in
the months ahead anyway," he added.
    Equities were down 0.2%, while the Singapore dollar
 strengthened 0.1%. 
    Stocks in Bangkok were marginally lower, as Thailand
reported its highest number of daily cases since the pandemic
    Data showing an unexpected 8.47% jump in the country's
exports for March, marking its fastest pace in 28 months, did
little to lift the mood as the economic outlook remained
    Malaysian government data showed that the country's consumer
price index in March rose 1.7% from a year earlier, surpassing
the 1.4% annual growth forecast by a Reuters poll. The country's
equities and currency were flat.   
    ** Top loser on Thailand's SETI was RPCG PCL
, down 8.51%
    ** In the Philippines, top index loser was Bloomberry
Resorts Corp, down 5.63%
    ** The biggest laggards in the NSE index were Cipla
Ltd and Shree Cement Ltd

  Asia stock indexes and                              
 currencies at   0704 GMT                        
                     DAILY  YTD %     X   DAILY  S YTD
                         %                    %      %
 Japan               +0.06  -4.31  <.N2   -0.57   5.74
 China    <CNY=CFX   -0.07  +0.50  <.SS    0.23   0.00
          S>                       EC>           
 India               +0.08  -2.44  <.NS   -0.06   2.98
 Indones             -0.10  -3.37  <.JK    0.17   0.43
 ia                                SE>           
 Malaysi             +0.11  -2.09  <.KL    0.05  -1.15
 a                                 SE>           
 Philipp             -0.04  -0.76  <.PS   -0.58  -10.6
 ines                              I>                7
 S.Korea  <KRW=KFT   -0.04  -2.83  <.KS    0.27  10.88
          C>                       11>           
 Singapo             +0.09  -0.53  <.ST   -0.16  11.92
 re                                I>            
 Taiwan              +0.18  +1.40  <.TW    1.19  17.43
 Thailan             -0.03  -4.40  <.SE   -0.73   7.41
 d                                 TI>           

 (Reporting by Harish Sridharan in Bengaluru; Editing by
Shailesh Kuber)