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Nikhil Nainan

EMERGING MARKETS-Philippine central bank sends stocks soaring with surprise rate cut

Nov 20 2020

* Graphic: Asia current accounts https://tmsnrt.rs/3kNEAn5 * Thai measures to contain the baht's rise seen to be not aggressive enough * Indonesia, Philippine central banks cut rates on Thursday By Nikhil Nainan Nov 20 Philippine shares led emerging Asian markets on Friday, surging 2.5% after the country's central bank delivered a surprise cut in interest rates to shore up a domestic economy struggling after months of on-off coronavirus restrictions. The region's foreign exchange markets were largely higher, with new steps from the Bank of Thailand to stem gains for the baht seeing little success. The currency rose almost half a percent in morning trade. Equity markets across Asia were up across the board, with Singapore gaining over 1%, as an improved global mood and the region's relative success in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic encourages investment. Most of the region's emerging stock markets were set to post weekly gains of around 2%. The Philippine central bank fuelled gains in Manila by cutting another 25 basis points off its main interest rates on Thursday, bringing them to a new low of 2.0%. "Loose monetary policy could be good for stock valuations and could drive a further rally for local bond yields," said Jennifer Lomboy, a fixed income fund manager at First Metro Asset in Manila. The Philippine stock index hit its highest since late-February, while the peso edged 0.2% higher. Analysts and investors were unimpressed with the Thai central bank's announcement of easier rules for investing in foreign currencies and securities, its latest move to try and halt the baht's rise. The bank, which held off on an outright cut in interest rates on Wednesday, has warned again of the damage the baht's strength can do the economy after a more than 3% jump in the currency this month. "The measures seem to be more of the same old, same old, which is to encourage outflows," Kobsidthi Silpachai, the head of capital markets research at Kasikornbank said, arguing that the heart of the problem is high taxation. "Since excise taxes on imported goods are high, it suppresses imports, which makes the current account surplus even higher, which leads to a strong baht," he said. "We have seen many years of monetary measures... we need to try fiscal measures like tax reforms." Bank Indonesia also surprised by cutting rates this week, by 25 basis points to 3.75%, dimming the appeal of its high-yielding local bond market. The central bank governor said the rupiah, which dipped 0.2% on Friday, was still undervalued. The currency has been one of the outperformers among the region's emerging markets, climbing over 3% this month. "We expect a possible rate cut in the near-term for as long as the rupiah remains on its current appreciation bias," said Nicholas Mapa, a senior economist at ING. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields up 1.9 basis points at 6.197% ** Top index gainers in the Philippines are San Miguel Corp , GT Capital Holdings Inc and BDO Unibank Inc Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0715 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDEX STOCKS STOCKS DAILY % YTD % DAILY % YTD % Japan -0.06 +4.65 -0.42 7.91 China +0.16 +5.94 0.44 10.75 India +0.16 -3.73 0.08 5.04 Indonesia -0.21 -2.05 -0.36 -11.52 Malaysia +0.27 +0.05 0.72 0.40 Philippines +0.15 +4.97 2.46 -8.26 S.Korea +0.12 +3.78 0.24 16.19 Singapore +0.09 +0.08 1.03 -12.95 Taiwan +1.06 +5.58 -0.04 14.33 Thailand +0.36 -1.25 0.64 -12.76 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam Holmes and Uttaresh.V)

EMERGING MARKETS-Philippine central bank sends stocks soaring with surprise rate cut

Nov 20 2020

* Graphic: Asia current accounts https://tmsnrt.rs/3kNEAn5 * Thai measures to contain the baht's rise seen to be not aggressive enough * Indonesia, Philippine central banks cut rates on Thursday By Nikhil Nainan Nov 20 Philippine shares led emerging Asian markets on Friday, surging 2.5% after the country's central bank delivered a surprise cut in interest rates to shore up a domestic economy struggling after months of on-off coronavirus restrictions. The region's foreign exchange markets were largely higher, with new steps from the Bank of Thailand to stem gains for the baht seeing little success. The currency rose almost half a percent in morning trade. Equity markets across Asia were up across the board, with Singapore gaining over 1%, as an improved global mood and the region's relative success in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic encourages investment. Most of the region's emerging stock markets were set to post weekly gains of around 2%. The Philippine central bank fuelled gains in Manila by cutting another 25 basis points off its main interest rates on Thursday, bringing them to a new low of 2.0%. "Loose monetary policy could be good for stock valuations and could drive a further rally for local bond yields," said Jennifer Lomboy, a fixed income fund manager at First Metro Asset in Manila. The Philippine stock index hit its highest since late-February, while the peso edged 0.2% higher. Analysts and investors were unimpressed with the Thai central bank's announcement of easier rules for investing in foreign currencies and securities, its latest move to try and halt the baht's rise. The bank, which held off on an outright cut in interest rates on Wednesday, has warned again of the damage the baht's strength can do the economy after a more than 3% jump in the currency this month. "The measures seem to be more of the same old, same old, which is to encourage outflows," Kobsidthi Silpachai, the head of capital markets research at Kasikornbank said, arguing that the heart of the problem is high taxation. "Since excise taxes on imported goods are high, it suppresses imports, which makes the current account surplus even higher, which leads to a strong baht," he said. "We have seen many years of monetary measures... we need to try fiscal measures like tax reforms." Bank Indonesia also surprised by cutting rates this week, by 25 basis points to 3.75%, dimming the appeal of its high-yielding local bond market. The central bank governor said the rupiah, which dipped 0.2% on Friday, was still undervalued. The currency has been one of the outperformers among the region's emerging markets, climbing over 3% this month. "We expect a possible rate cut in the near-term for as long as the rupiah remains on its current appreciation bias," said Nicholas Mapa, a senior economist at ING. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields up 1.9 basis points at 6.197% ** Top index gainers in the Philippines are San Miguel Corp , GT Capital Holdings Inc and BDO Unibank Inc Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0715 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDEX STOCKS STOCKS DAILY % YTD % DAILY % YTD % Japan -0.06 +4.65 -0.42 7.91 China +0.16 +5.94 0.44 10.75 India +0.16 -3.73 0.08 5.04 Indonesia -0.21 -2.05 -0.36 -11.52 Malaysia +0.27 +0.05 0.72 0.40 Philippines +0.15 +4.97 2.46 -8.26 S.Korea +0.12 +3.78 0.24 16.19 Singapore +0.09 +0.08 1.03 -12.95 Taiwan +1.06 +5.58 -0.04 14.33 Thailand +0.36 -1.25 0.64 -12.76 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam Holmes and Uttaresh.V)

EMERGING MARKETS-Philippine shares jump to 9-month high, Thai baht edges up

Nov 20 2020

(Repeats for wider distribution. No change to text.) * Graphic: Asia current accounts https://tmsnrt.rs/3kNEAn5 * Thai central bank announces measures to contain the baht's rise * Indonesia, Philippine central banks cut rates on Thursday * Rupiah dips after rate cut By Nikhil Nainan Nov 20 Philippine shares hit a nine-month high on Friday after a surprise interest rate cut while the Thai baht gained, defying central bank measures to nip a recent rally that is seen threatening the southeast Asian nation's economic recovery. Equity markets across Asia were broadly higher with Singapore up 0.8% as investors look to the region's relative success in controlling the pandemic to fuel its economic recovery. That success and recent vaccine news from Pfizer and Moderna have supported stocks in Asia's emerging markets, with most set to post weekly gains of over 2%. The Thai baht edged 0.3% higher, even as the central bank sought to rein in the currency, which has strengthened nearly 3% so far this month and poses a concern for the tourism and trade reliant economy. Separately, the Bank of Thailand announced new rules that would let Thais freely hold and transfer foreign currency deposits and to directly invest more in overseas securities. On Thursday, the Philippine central bank surprised markets with a 25 basis points interest rate cut to a new low of 2.0% as the country's economy struggles with the pressure of coronavirus. "Loose monetary policy could be good for stock valuations and could drive a further rally for local bond yields," said Jennifer Lomboy, a fixed income fund manager at First Metro Asset in Manila. Stocks rose 1.8% to a late-February high, while the peso advanced 0.1%. Another surprise cut on Thursday came from Bank Indonesia, who also cut rates by 25 basis points to 3.75%, dimming the appeal of its high-yielding local bond market. The central bank governor said the rupiah, which dipped 0.2% on Friday, is still undervalued. The currency has been one of the outperformers in Asia's emerging market space, climbing over 3% this month. "We expect a possible rate cut in the near-term for as long as the rupiah remains on its current appreciation bias," said Nicholas Mapa, a senior economist at ING. The improving appetite for risk this month on vaccine news and Joe Biden winning the U.S. presidential election has boosted sentiment across asset classes in the region, but with COVID-19 cases rising and restrictions following suit, hopes for a quick global recovery is fading. OCBC Bank analysts said in a note that they expect "the downward drift to resume after a period of consolidation." Overnight, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called for an end to coronavirus pandemic relief for struggling businesses, and DBS expects more short-covering into the weekend as appetite for emerging Asian currencies dwindle. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields up 3 basis points to 6.208% ** Top index gainers in the Philippines are San Miguel Corp , GT Capital Holdings Inc and BDO Unibank Inc ** COMMENT-Mnuchin's move is risk-negative, but no reason to buy USD Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0405 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDEX STOCKS STOCKS DAILY % YTD % DAILY % YTD % Japan -0.10 +4.61 -0.65 7.65 China +0.09 +5.87 0.10 10.37 India +0.00 -3.88 0.57 5.56 Indonesia -0.21 -2.05 -0.05 -11.24 Malaysia +0.24 +0.02 0.50 0.17 Philippines +0.12 +4.95 1.75 -8.89 S.Korea +0.18 +3.84 -0.13 15.77 Singapore +0.09 +0.08 0.79 -13.15 Taiwan +1.04 +5.56 0.01 14.39 Thailand +0.30 -1.32 0.46 -12.92 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam Holmes)

EMERGING MARKETS-Philippine shares jump to 9-month high, Thai baht edges up

Nov 20 2020

* Graphic: Asia current accounts https://tmsnrt.rs/3kNEAn5 * Thai central bank announces measures to contain the baht's rise * Indonesia, Philippine central banks cut rates on Thursday * Rupiah dips after rate cut By Nikhil Nainan Nov 20 Philippine shares hit a nine-month high on Friday after a surprise interest rate cut while the Thai baht gained, defying central bank measures to nip a recent rally that is seen threatening the southeast Asian nation's economic recovery. Equity markets across Asia were broadly higher with Singapore up 0.8% as investors look to the region's relative success in controlling the pandemic to fuel its economic recovery. That success and recent vaccine news from Pfizer and Moderna have supported stocks in Asia's emerging markets, with most set to post weekly gains of over 2%. The Thai baht edged 0.3% higher, even as the central bank sought to rein in the currency, which has strengthened nearly 3% so far this month and poses a concern for the tourism and trade reliant economy. Separately, the Bank of Thailand announced new rules that would let Thais freely hold and transfer foreign currency deposits and to directly invest more in overseas securities. On Thursday, the Philippine central bank surprised markets with a 25 basis points interest rate cut to a new low of 2.0% as the country's economy struggles with the pressure of coronavirus. "Loose monetary policy could be good for stock valuations and could drive a further rally for local bond yields," said Jennifer Lomboy, a fixed income fund manager at First Metro Asset in Manila. Stocks rose 1.8% to a late-February high, while the peso advanced 0.1%. Another surprise cut on Thursday came from Bank Indonesia, who also cut rates by 25 basis points to 3.75%, dimming the appeal of its high-yielding local bond market. The central bank governor said the rupiah, which dipped 0.2% on Friday, is still undervalued. The currency has been one of the outperformers in Asia's emerging market space, climbing over 3% this month. "We expect a possible rate cut in the near-term for as long as the rupiah remains on its current appreciation bias," said Nicholas Mapa, a senior economist at ING. The improving appetite for risk this month on vaccine news and Joe Biden winning the U.S. presidential election has boosted sentiment across asset classes in the region, but with COVID-19 cases rising and restrictions following suit, hopes for a quick global recovery is fading. OCBC Bank analysts said in a note that they expect "the downward drift to resume after a period of consolidation." Overnight, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called for an end to coronavirus pandemic relief for struggling businesses, and DBS expects more short-covering into the weekend as appetite for emerging Asian currencies dwindle. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields up 3 basis points to 6.208% ** Top index gainers in the Philippines are San Miguel Corp , GT Capital Holdings Inc and BDO Unibank Inc ** COMMENT-Mnuchin's move is risk-negative, but no reason to buy USD Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0405 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDEX STOCKS STOCKS DAILY % YTD % DAILY % YTD % Japan -0.10 +4.61 -0.65 7.65 China +0.09 +5.87 0.10 10.37 India +0.00 -3.88 0.57 5.56 Indonesia -0.21 -2.05 -0.05 -11.24 Malaysia +0.24 +0.02 0.50 0.17 Philippines +0.12 +4.95 1.75 -8.89 S.Korea +0.18 +3.84 -0.13 15.77 Singapore +0.09 +0.08 0.79 -13.15 Taiwan +1.04 +5.56 0.01 14.39 Thailand +0.30 -1.32 0.46 -12.92 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam Holmes)

EMERGING MARKETS-Baht dips as Bank of Thailand worries over gains, Asia shares rise

Nov 18 2020

* Graphic: World FX rates http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh * Thai central bank leaves rates unchanged * Says to monitor baht, consider additional measures * Indonesia, Philippine central banks to meet on Thursday By Nikhil Nainan Nov 18 Thailand's baht dipped and shares struggled on Wednesday as the country's central bank again warned against an overly strong currency and said the economy remained fragile, trailing gains elsewhere in Asia amid a pullback on global stock markets. Stocks in Manila and Taiwan rose 1%, while Jakarta advanced half a percent, as investors banked on the region's relative success in controlling the pandemic to fuel its economic recovery. Thailand's central bank left its key interest rate at a record low of 0.5%, as expected, but said the recent rise of the baht could hurt the recovery of the country's tourism-and trade-reliant economy. The baht has gained around 3% on the dollar so far in November, with the Bank of Thailand signalling it may take steps to stem the rise. Thai stocks, the region's worst performers so far this year, on Wednesday erased earlier gains while the baht dipped 0.2%. "Although the economy has now passed the worst, interest rates will need to remain low for a long time to support the recovery," Gareth Leather, a senior Asia economist at Capital Economics, said shortly after the decision. The "recovery will struggle to gain traction" given that tourism is showing little sign of improvement, Leather added. Relief over COVID-19 vaccine developments over the last week has been overshadowed by a surge in cases globally and fresh social restrictions that threaten to wreck any immediate hopes for a recovery. Soft U.S. retail sales overnight highlighted the fragile economic situation and sent Wall Street lower. "Despite the slight pull-back in risk overnight, the market still seem to lean risk-positive by default," OCBC Bank analysts wrote in a note. Both the Philippine and Indonesian central banks have their policy meetings on Thursday, where they are expected to keep rates unchanged. The rupiah, a favourite among foreign investors looking at Indonesia's high-yielding bond market, fell 0.2%. Bank Indonesia is slated to keep its benchmark seven-day reserve repurchase rate steady at 4% on Thursday, for a fourth straight meeting. Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0707 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDEX STOCKS STOCKS DAILY % YTD % DAILY % YTD % Japan +0.24 +4.51 -1.10 8.76 China +0.18 +6.38 0.21 9.73 India +0.26 -3.89 -0.22 5.57 Indonesia -0.21 -1.28 0.48 -11.80 Malaysia +0.35 +0.04 -0.74 0.59 Philippines +0.17 +5.10 1.33 -9.77 S.Korea +0.25 +4.77 0.26 15.83 Singapore +0.08 +0.21 0.19 -13.62 Taiwan +1.10 +5.63 1.33 14.80 Thailand -0.20 -0.99 -0.04 -14.60 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill and Anil D'Silva)

EMERGING MARKETS-Baht dips as Bank of Thailand worries over gains, Asia shares rise

Nov 18 2020

* Graphic: World FX rates http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh * Thai central bank leaves rates unchanged * Says to monitor baht, consider additional measures * Indonesia, Philippine central banks to meet on Thursday By Nikhil Nainan Nov 18 Thailand's baht dipped and shares struggled on Wednesday as the country's central bank again warned against an overly strong currency and said the economy remained fragile, trailing gains elsewhere in Asia amid a pullback on global stock markets. Stocks in Manila and Taiwan rose 1%, while Jakarta advanced half a percent, as investors banked on the region's relative success in controlling the pandemic to fuel its economic recovery. Thailand's central bank left its key interest rate at a record low of 0.5%, as expected, but said the recent rise of the baht could hurt the recovery of the country's tourism-and trade-reliant economy. The baht has gained around 3% on the dollar so far in November, with the Bank of Thailand signalling it may take steps to stem the rise. Thai stocks, the region's worst performers so far this year, on Wednesday erased earlier gains while the baht dipped 0.2%. "Although the economy has now passed the worst, interest rates will need to remain low for a long time to support the recovery," Gareth Leather, a senior Asia economist at Capital Economics, said shortly after the decision. The "recovery will struggle to gain traction" given that tourism is showing little sign of improvement, Leather added. Relief over COVID-19 vaccine developments over the last week has been overshadowed by a surge in cases globally and fresh social restrictions that threaten to wreck any immediate hopes for a recovery. Soft U.S. retail sales overnight highlighted the fragile economic situation and sent Wall Street lower. "Despite the slight pull-back in risk overnight, the market still seem to lean risk-positive by default," OCBC Bank analysts wrote in a note. Both the Philippine and Indonesian central banks have their policy meetings on Thursday, where they are expected to keep rates unchanged. The rupiah, a favourite among foreign investors looking at Indonesia's high-yielding bond market, fell 0.2%. Bank Indonesia is slated to keep its benchmark seven-day reserve repurchase rate steady at 4% on Thursday, for a fourth straight meeting. Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0707 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDEX STOCKS STOCKS DAILY % YTD % DAILY % YTD % Japan +0.24 +4.51 -1.10 8.76 China +0.18 +6.38 0.21 9.73 India +0.26 -3.89 -0.22 5.57 Indonesia -0.21 -1.28 0.48 -11.80 Malaysia +0.35 +0.04 -0.74 0.59 Philippines +0.17 +5.10 1.33 -9.77 S.Korea +0.25 +4.77 0.26 15.83 Singapore +0.08 +0.21 0.19 -13.62 Taiwan +1.10 +5.63 1.33 14.80 Thailand -0.20 -0.99 -0.04 -14.60 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill and Anil D'Silva)

UPDATE 1-Australian regulator says one in five buy-now-pay-later users missing payments

Nov 16 2020

Nov 16 One in five consumers using buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) services were missing payments and some were facing financial hardship, Australia's corporate regulator said in a highly anticipated report on Monday about the booming industry.

EMERGING MARKETS-Regional trade deal lifts Asia shares, currencies

Nov 16 2020

* 15 Asia-Pacific economies form world's largest free trade bloc * South Korea, Taiwan gain 2% * Singapore, China, Thailand up around 1% * South Korean won hits near 2-year high against the dollar By Nikhil Nainan Nov 16 South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore led broader Asian stock market gains on Monday as 15 Asia-Pacific economies signed a deal to form the world's largest free trade bloc, bolstering expectations for the pace of future economic growth. With the mood also brightened by upbeat data from China and Japan, Bangkok and Shanghai stocks both gained around 1%, with the Thai market hitting a more than three-month high. Over the weekend, Asia-Pacific economies signed a China-backed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which accounts for 30% of the global economy and excludes the United States. The group aims to lower tariffs and may aid in the post-pandemic recovery amid fractured relations between the Washington and Beijing. "The reach and ambitions of the RCEP, looking to abolish some 92% of traded goods tariffs, would be critical in deepening supply-chain linkages," Mizuho Bank said in a note, adding that hopes are "pinned on RCEP helping to catalyze the recovery in global trade and commerce." Shares in Seoul and Taipei climbed 2%, while rising over 1% in Singapore. Currencies of trade-dependent economies such as the Taiwanese dollar and South Korean won marked the biggest gains on the U.S. dollar, while Indonesia's rupiah , a favourite in the region to access the high-yielding local bond market, rose 0.2%. South Korea's finance ministry issued a warning on the won's movement after it hit a near two-year high on the U.S. dollar. Dealers said the central bank was suspected of buying dollars to stem gains. Investors were buoyed by factory output in China rising faster-than-expected in October, continuing on its recovery path, while Japan's economy grew at the fastest pace on record in the third quarter. Capital Economics said Thailand's GDP data on Monday showed the worst is over for the tourism-reliant economy, but warned its recovery will likely be one of the slowest in the region given its reliance on foreign travellers. The baht dipped 0.1% higher ahead of a central bank policy meeting on Wednesday. The week also houses policy meetings of the central bank's of Indonesia and the Philippines on Thursday. Markets in India were closed for a public holiday. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Indonesian three-year benchmark yields are up 7.5 basis points to 4.992% ** Genting Singapore Ltd led gains in the city-state; Morgan Stanley downgrades Singapore equities to equal-weight ** Morgan Stanley also says China will outperform emerging markets by less in 2021 than in 2020 Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0646 GMT COUNTRY FX FX FX INDEX STOCKS STOCKS RIC DAILY % YTD % DAILY % YTD % Japan +0.08 +3.89 2.05 9.51 China +0.39 +5.82 0.88 9.48 India - -4.32 - 5.03 Indonesia +0.18 -1.73 0.25 -13.09 Malaysia +0.15 -0.61 0.24 0.30 Philippines +0.01 +5.16 -0.74 -11.48 S.Korea +0.57 +4.25 1.97 15.71 Singapore +0.11 -0.09 1.38 -14.70 Taiwan +1.22 +5.64 2.10 12.96 Thailand -0.13 -0.99 0.97 -13.95 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Anil D'Silva)

EMERGING MARKETS-Regional trade deal lifts Asia shares, currencies

Nov 16 2020

* 15 Asia-Pacific economies form world's largest free trade bloc * South Korea, Taiwan gain 2% * Singapore, China, Thailand up around 1% * South Korean won hits near 2-year high against the dollar By Nikhil Nainan Nov 16 South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore led broader Asian stock market gains on Monday as 15 Asia-Pacific economies signed a deal to form the world's largest free trade bloc, bolstering expectations for the pace of future economic growth. With the mood also brightened by upbeat data from China and Japan, Bangkok and Shanghai stocks both gained around 1%, with the Thai market hitting a more than three-month high. Over the weekend, Asia-Pacific economies signed a China-backed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which accounts for 30% of the global economy and excludes the United States. The group aims to lower tariffs and may aid in the post-pandemic recovery amid fractured relations between the Washington and Beijing. "The reach and ambitions of the RCEP, looking to abolish some 92% of traded goods tariffs, would be critical in deepening supply-chain linkages," Mizuho Bank said in a note, adding that hopes are "pinned on RCEP helping to catalyze the recovery in global trade and commerce." Shares in Seoul and Taipei climbed 2%, while rising over 1% in Singapore. Currencies of trade-dependent economies such as the Taiwanese dollar and South Korean won marked the biggest gains on the U.S. dollar, while Indonesia's rupiah , a favourite in the region to access the high-yielding local bond market, rose 0.2%. South Korea's finance ministry issued a warning on the won's movement after it hit a near two-year high on the U.S. dollar. Dealers said the central bank was suspected of buying dollars to stem gains. Investors were buoyed by factory output in China rising faster-than-expected in October, continuing on its recovery path, while Japan's economy grew at the fastest pace on record in the third quarter. Capital Economics said Thailand's GDP data on Monday showed the worst is over for the tourism-reliant economy, but warned its recovery will likely be one of the slowest in the region given its reliance on foreign travellers. The baht dipped 0.1% higher ahead of a central bank policy meeting on Wednesday. The week also houses policy meetings of the central bank's of Indonesia and the Philippines on Thursday. Markets in India were closed for a public holiday. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Indonesian three-year benchmark yields are up 7.5 basis points to 4.992% ** Genting Singapore Ltd led gains in the city-state; Morgan Stanley downgrades Singapore equities to equal-weight ** Morgan Stanley also says China will outperform emerging markets by less in 2021 than in 2020 Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0646 GMT COUNTRY FX FX FX INDEX STOCKS STOCKS RIC DAILY % YTD % DAILY % YTD % Japan +0.08 +3.89 2.05 9.51 China +0.39 +5.82 0.88 9.48 India - -4.32 - 5.03 Indonesia +0.18 -1.73 0.25 -13.09 Malaysia +0.15 -0.61 0.24 0.30 Philippines +0.01 +5.16 -0.74 -11.48 S.Korea +0.57 +4.25 1.97 15.71 Singapore +0.11 -0.09 1.38 -14.70 Taiwan +1.22 +5.64 2.10 12.96 Thailand -0.13 -0.99 0.97 -13.95 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Anil D'Silva)

EMERGING MARKETS-Asia shares, currencies climb as region forms biggest free trade bloc

Nov 15 2020

* 15 Asia-Pacific economies formed the world's largest free trade bloc * Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand gain over 1% * South Korean won hits near 2-year high against the dollar By Nikhil Nainan Nov 16 South Korea and Singapore led broader Asian stock market gains on Monday following the formation of the world's largest free trade bloc made up largely by countries in the region, with gains further bolstered by upbeat data from China and Japan. Taipei and Bangkok also gained at least 1%, with stocks in Thailand at a more-than three-month high as the economy contracted by less than expected in the third quarter. Over the weekend, 15 Asia-Pacific economies signed the China-backed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which accounts for 30% of the global economy. The grouping aims to lower tariffs and may aid in the post-pandemic recovery amid fractured relations between the United States and China. "The reach and ambitions of the RCEP, looking to abolish some 92% of traded goods tariffs, would be critical in deepening supply-chain linkages," Mizuho Bank said in a note, adding that hopes are "pinned on RCEP helping to catalyze the recovery in global trade and commerce." In Seoul shares climbed 2%, while in Singapore and Shanghai, stocks rose around 1%. Currencies of trade-dependent economies such as the Taiwanese dollar and South Korean won gained around 1% each, with Indonesia's rupiah, the region's carry-trade favourite, up 0.4%. The won hitting a near two-year high on the U.S. dollar caused the country's finance ministry to issue a warning on the currency's movement. Dealers said the central bank was suspected of buying dollars to stem gains. Investors were also buoyed by factory output in China rising faster-than-expected in October, continuing on its recovery path, while Japan's economy grew at the fastest pace on record in the third quarter. Capital Economics said Thailand's GDP data showed the worst is over for the tourism-reliant economy, but warned its recovery will likely be one of the slowest in the region given its reliance on foreign travellers. The baht edged 0.1% higher. Markets in India were closed for a public holiday. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Indonesian 3-year benchmark yields are up 7.5 basis points at 4.992% ** The top gainer in Singapore is Genting Singapore Ltd , followed by Keppel Corp ** Morgan Stanley downgrades Singapore equities to equal-weight, and says China to outperform emerging markets by less in 2021 than in 2020 Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0344 GMT COUNTRY FX FX FX INDEX STOCKS STOCKS RIC DAILY % YTD % DAILY % YTD % Japan +0.10 +3.91 1.65 9.08 China +0.38 +5.80 0.96 9.56 India - -4.32 - 5.03 Indonesia +0.35 -1.56 0.09 -13.23 Malaysia +0.19 -0.56 0.25 0.31 Philippines +0.00 +5.15 -1.17 -11.86 S.Korea +0.70 +4.38 1.87 15.60 Singapore +0.15 -0.05 1.30 -14.78 Taiwan +1.21 +5.63 1.48 12.27 Thailand +0.07 -0.80 1.35 -13.62 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)

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