March 2, 2020 / 12:41 PM / a month ago

Factbox: Foreign funds flee Asia's emerging markets

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The coronavirus epidemic has spread from China to more than 50 countries, raising fears of a pandemic and global recession and sparking a flight by foreign funds out of Asia’s emerging markets, from currencies to stocks and bonds.

Preliminary data from the Institute of International Finance (IIF) released on Monday showed portfolio managers pulled $9.7 billion from emerging markets, predominantly from Asia.

Here is the latest snapshot of outflows and measures in response:

INDONESIA

Non-resident investors sold 19.36 trillion rupiah ($1.4 billion) of government bonds over the first four days of last week, according to government data. In equities, foreigners sold a net 4.16 trillion rupiah, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.

Indonesia's rupiah IDR= has fallen more than 5% in two weeks. The yield on 10-year Indonesian sovereign bonds has jumped 50 basis points in four trading sessions IDR10YT=RR.

The central bank on Monday said it would cut banks’ reserve requirements for savings in foreign currencies by 400 basis points to 4%, freeing $3.2 billion, and increase its own intervention in markets to hold the currency steady.

SOUTH KOREA

Last week, foreign investors sold a net 3.6 trillion won ($3 billion) worth of stocks listed on the KOSPI and KOSDAQ indexes, the biggest outflow since the 2008 financial crisis.

The won KRW= has dropped 3.3% against the dollar since January.

The vice finance minister has vowed to use “all possible measures” to stabilize markets, though the central bank held interest rates steady last week and stressed the limits of monetary policy.

MALAYSIA

As domestic political turmoil also hurt sentiment, foreign investors dumped 1.26 billion ringgit ($300 million) worth of Malaysian equities last week, the largest weekly outflow in 20 months.

For February, foreigners liquidated nearly 2 billion ringgit in stocks, the highest such outflow since August. The currency MYR= has lost 3.4% against the dollar since Jan. 20.

TAIWAN

Foreign investors sold T$94.4 billion ($3.14 billion) in Taiwan stocks last week, the third worst weekly performance in history. The benchmark index .TWII shed 3.4% last week.

THAILAND

Foreigners liquidated 17.9 billion baht ($572 million) in bonds last week, the biggest selldown in six months. It was also the seventh straight week of foreigners selling stocks, with a net 4.2 billion baht outflow.

Thailand's currency THB= has been among the worst performing in Asia this year, dropping almost 5% against the dollar.

Reporting by Liz Lee in Kuala Lumpur, Orathai Sriring in Bangkok, Cynthia Kim in Seoul, Gayatri Suroyo and Fransiska Nangoy in Jakarta and Emily Chan in Taipei; Writing by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Jacqueline Wong, Robert Birsel

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