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EMERGING MARKETS-Asian stocks drop as weak China data rekindle growth woes

    * Weaker China data hurts equities in EM Asia
    * Singapore stocks fall 0.8% to hit 2-week low
    * India's Nifty 50 hits record high

    By Harish Sridharan
    Sept 15 (Reuters) - Most shares in Asian emerging markets
fell on Wednesday, as a raft of subdued data from China,
indicating slowing economic activity in the world's second
largest economy, raised concerns over a global recovery and an
aversion towards riskier assets. 
    Singapore stocks led losses in the broader region,
dropping 0.8% to hit a two-week low, after the city-state on
Tuesday reported its highest number of COVID-19 cases since
August last year. 
    A recent rise in cases after relaxation of some COVID-19
measures has prompted the city-state to pause on further
reopening. 
    "Given that eventual policy objective is for COVID-19 to be
endemic in society, we expect stronger policy resistance this
time round against going back to lockdowns," Maybank analysts
said in a note. 
    China's factory and retail sectors faltered in August with
output and sales growth hitting one-year lows as fresh
coronavirus outbreaks and supply disruptions threatened the
country's impressive economic recovery.
    "Slowing China activity has a knock-on effect across the
region," said Mitul Kotecha, chief EM Asia & Europe strategist
at TD Securities. 
    "This just exacerbates global concerns about weakening
economic activity... that we are past peak growth and moderation
in activity is now intensifying." 
    Separately, China's Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural
Development told major banks that cash-strapped real estate
giant Evergrande won't be able to make loan interest
payments due Sept. 20, Bloomberg News reported, citing people
familiar with the matter. 
    China shares slipped 0.3%, while Taiwan,
Philippines and Indonesia also fell. 
    Currencies in the region were largely subdued and traded
sideways against a flat dollar, after softer-than-expected U.S.
inflation data raised doubts about the U.S Federal Reserve's
taper timeline.
    U.S. data on Tuesday showed that consumer price index rose
less than expected in August. Lower inflation suggests that the
Fed will be under less pressure to begin trimming its vast asset
purchases soon.
    Bucking the trend, South Korean shares gained on
Wednesday, after data showed unemployment rate for August fell
to a record low.
    India's blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index hit an all-time
high, boosted by gains in energy, automobile and telecom stocks.
 
    
    HIGHLIGHTS
    
    ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields up 1 basis point at
6.181%​​
    ** Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd, down 2.19%, top
loser on Singapore STI
  
    
  Asia stock indexes and                                       
 currencies at 0708 GMT                                   
 COUNTRY      FX RIC          FX     FX    INDEX  STOCKS  STOCK
                           DAILY  YTD %            DAILY  S YTD
                               %                       %      %
 Japan                     +0.13  -5.74            -0.52  11.18
 China                     +0.00  +1.40            -0.25   5.19
 India                     +0.05  -0.78             0.51  24.93
 Indonesia                 +0.04  -1.40            -0.28   2.23
 Malaysia                  +0.07  -3.30            -0.09  -4.49
 Philippines               -0.09  -3.62            -0.58  -3.63
 S.Korea                   +0.03  -7.20             0.15   9.74
 Singapore                 +0.09  -1.60            -0.79   7.46
 Taiwan                    +0.22  +3.01            -0.46  17.79
 Thailand                  +0.21  -8.80             0.26  12.33
 



    
 (Reporting by Harish Sridharan in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi
Aich)
  
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