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International

Pranav A K

EMERGING MARKETS-Sime Darby weighs on Malaysia stocks; most Asian shares, FX to end year higher

Dec 31 2020

* Indian rupee worst performer in Asian FX in 2020 * China stocks climb to near 2-year high * S.Korea stocks notch biggest annual gain since 2009 By Pranav A K Dec 31 Malaysian shares slipped on Thursday after the United States blocked palm oil imports from Sime Darby Plantation, although most other markets in the region closed higher for the year, with South Korea and India leading the charge. The U.S. ban on Sime Darby, the world's largest palm oil company by landsize, is due to allegations of forced labour and follows a similar ban on FGV Holdings in October, spelling trouble for Malaysia's vast palm oil industry. Sime Darby's shares slumped more than 3%, denting the Kuala Lumpur index, which is set to end the year on a positive note after two years of decline. Asian markets, including Thailand, South Korea and the Philippines, have recouped most of their losses from earlier this year as positive vaccine development has brightened prospects for trade-reliant economies. Emerging Asia's currencies are also set to end the year on a firmer note, helped by a swift economic rebound in China, the region's growth engine. Malaysian ringgit strengthened 0.5% on the day and was on track to record near 2% annual gain, while Singapore dollar edged higher. China shares climbed 1.7% to their highest level in about two years, taking the year's gains to 14%, after investors took heart from a deal that will help redress what Europe sees as unbalanced economic ties with Beijing. Taiwan's stocks and currency were set to be the best performers in the region this year, adding 23% and 7.2%, respectively. Investor confidence in Taiwan improved on its efficient handling of the pandemic and as a shift to working remotely amid the pandemic boosted its tech exports. The Indian rupee, however, is set to be the biggest laggard this year, shedding 2.3%, as lockdowns hurt the country's economy. The Chinese yuan, which has risen rapidly since May, dropped on Thursday as traders suspected state-owned banks were buying dollars to stem the currency's rise and breaching a key level of 6.5 per dollar. Trading volumes in the region were thin as stock markets in the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan and South Korea remained closed for a public holiday. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Singapore GDP to extend decline in Q4 - Reuters poll ** Top losers on FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kl Index include Sime Darby Plantation Bhd, down 3.5%, and CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, down 2% ** Singapore's 10-year benchmark yield is down 1.7 basis points at 0.839% Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0802 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDEX STOCKS STOCKS DAILY % YTD % DAILY YTD % % Japan +0.08 +5.35 <.N22 0.00 16.01 5> China -0.12 +6.59 <.SSE 1.72 13.87 C> India +0.35 -2.29 <.NSE 0.07 14.98 I> Malaysia +0.47 +1.82 <.KLS -0.82 2.66 E> Philippi +0.00 +5.50 <.PSI 0.00 -8.64 nes > Singapor +0.15 +1.78 <.STI -0.89 -11.76 e > Taiwan -0.00 +5.61 <.TWI 0.31 22.80 I> (Reporting by A K Pranav and Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)

EMERGING MARKETS-Sime Darby weighs on Malaysia stocks; most Asian shares, FX to end year higher

Dec 31 2020

* Indian rupee worst performer in Asian FX in 2020 * China stocks climb to near 2-year high * S.Korea stocks notch biggest annual gain since 2009 By Pranav A K Dec 31 Malaysian shares slipped on Thursday after the United States blocked palm oil imports from Sime Darby Plantation, although most other markets in the region closed higher for the year, with South Korea and India leading the charge. The U.S. ban on Sime Darby, the world's largest palm oil company by landsize, is due to allegations of forced labour and follows a similar ban on FGV Holdings in October, spelling trouble for Malaysia's vast palm oil industry. Sime Darby's shares slumped more than 3%, denting the Kuala Lumpur index, which is set to end the year on a positive note after two years of decline. Asian markets, including Thailand, South Korea and the Philippines, have recouped most of their losses from earlier this year as positive vaccine development has brightened prospects for trade-reliant economies. Emerging Asia's currencies are also set to end the year on a firmer note, helped by a swift economic rebound in China, the region's growth engine. Malaysian ringgit strengthened 0.5% on the day and was on track to record near 2% annual gain, while Singapore dollar edged higher. China shares climbed 1.7% to their highest level in about two years, taking the year's gains to 14%, after investors took heart from a deal that will help redress what Europe sees as unbalanced economic ties with Beijing. Taiwan's stocks and currency were set to be the best performers in the region this year, adding 23% and 7.2%, respectively. Investor confidence in Taiwan improved on its efficient handling of the pandemic and as a shift to working remotely amid the pandemic boosted its tech exports. The Indian rupee, however, is set to be the biggest laggard this year, shedding 2.3%, as lockdowns hurt the country's economy. The Chinese yuan, which has risen rapidly since May, dropped on Thursday as traders suspected state-owned banks were buying dollars to stem the currency's rise and breaching a key level of 6.5 per dollar. Trading volumes in the region were thin as stock markets in the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan and South Korea remained closed for a public holiday. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Singapore GDP to extend decline in Q4 - Reuters poll ** Top losers on FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kl Index include Sime Darby Plantation Bhd, down 3.5%, and CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, down 2% ** Singapore's 10-year benchmark yield is down 1.7 basis points at 0.839% Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0802 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDEX STOCKS STOCKS DAILY % YTD % DAILY YTD % % Japan +0.08 +5.35 <.N22 0.00 16.01 5> China -0.12 +6.59 <.SSE 1.72 13.87 C> India +0.35 -2.29 <.NSE 0.07 14.98 I> Malaysia +0.47 +1.82 <.KLS -0.82 2.66 E> Philippi +0.00 +5.50 <.PSI 0.00 -8.64 nes > Singapor +0.15 +1.78 <.STI -0.89 -11.76 e > Taiwan -0.00 +5.61 <.TWI 0.31 22.80 I> (Reporting by A K Pranav and Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)

EMERGING MARKETS-Asian currencies set to end pandemic-hit year on strong note

Dec 31 2020

* China state banks seen buying USD to ease yuan rally - traders * Taiwan finds fist case of new coronavirus variant * Sime Darby shares weigh on Malaysian benchmark By Pranav A K and Anushka Trivedi Dec 31 Asian currencies were on course to finish the pandemic-hit year on a positive note, with the Malaysian ringgit leading gains on Thursday as broader sentiment was lifted by hopes of a vaccine-led economic recovery. The Chinese yuan, however, held back as traders suspected state-owned banks were buying dollars to curb the currency from rising too fast and breaching a key level of 6.5 per dollar. The yuan has risen rapidly since May and is set to mark its first annual gain in three as a weaker dollar, the widening yield gap between China and the United States and Beijing's effective coronavirus containment underpinned gains in the currency. Other emerging currencies in the region were broadly firmer after the dollar weakened as investors continued to bet that COVID-19 vaccine rollouts will help the economy towards a more sustainable recovery. "A smooth vaccine rollout can be a game-changer," said Christopher Wong, a senior foreign exchange strategist at Maybank "Global economy could be closer to a more sustainable recovery trajectory amid unprecedented fiscal and monetary support." China's outperformance has also helped regional units, with the Taiwanese dollar on course to be the best performer in Asia this year as it firmed as much as 1.5% to take annual gains to about 7%. Investors have lauded the island's handling of the pandemic, while a global shift to working remotely boosted demand for its tech products. Malaysian ringgit strengthened 0.6% on Thursday, while Singapore dollar also gained some ground. Emerging Asia's currencies stand to benefit from a recovery in economic growth next year, with trade-linked Taiwan dollar, Singapore dollar, won and yuan appearing as winners, whereas low interest-rate and inflation environment should support the region's carry trade favourites, Wong said. A slump in shares of Sime Darby Plantation knocked Malaysian stock index sharply lower after the United States banned imports of palm oil from the producer over allegations of forced labour. Stock markets in the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan and South Korea were closed for a holiday. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Singapore GDP to extend decline in Q4 - Reuters poll ** Top losers on FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kl Index include Sime Darby Plantation Bhd, down 3.29%, and Press Metal Aluminium Holdings Bhd, down 1.88% ** Singapore's 10-year benchmark yield is down 1.7 basis points at 0.839% Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0458 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX DAILY % FX YTD INDEX STOCKS DAILY % STOCKS YTD % % Japan +0.02 +5.29 0.00 16.01 China -0.08 +6.63 0.83 12.87 India +0.30 -2.33 0.04 14.95 Malaysia +0.62 +1.97 -0.55 2.93 Philippines +0.00 +5.50 0.00 -8.64 Singapore +0.01 +1.63 -0.89 -11.76 Taiwan +0.00 +5.61 0.16 22.63 (Reporting by A K Pranav and Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)

EMERGING MARKETS-Asian currencies set to end pandemic-hit year on strong note

Dec 31 2020

* China state banks seen buying USD to ease yuan rally - traders * Taiwan finds fist case of new coronavirus variant * Sime Darby shares weigh on Malaysian benchmark By Pranav A K and Anushka Trivedi Dec 31 Asian currencies were on course to finish the pandemic-hit year on a positive note, with the Malaysian ringgit leading gains on Thursday as broader sentiment was lifted by hopes of a vaccine-led economic recovery. The Chinese yuan, however, held back as traders suspected state-owned banks were buying dollars to curb the currency from rising too fast and breaching a key level of 6.5 per dollar. The yuan has risen rapidly since May and is set to mark its first annual gain in three as a weaker dollar, the widening yield gap between China and the United States and Beijing's effective coronavirus containment underpinned gains in the currency. Other emerging currencies in the region were broadly firmer after the dollar weakened as investors continued to bet that COVID-19 vaccine rollouts will help the economy towards a more sustainable recovery. "A smooth vaccine rollout can be a game-changer," said Christopher Wong, a senior foreign exchange strategist at Maybank "Global economy could be closer to a more sustainable recovery trajectory amid unprecedented fiscal and monetary support." China's outperformance has also helped regional units, with the Taiwanese dollar on course to be the best performer in Asia this year as it firmed as much as 1.5% to take annual gains to about 7%. Investors have lauded the island's handling of the pandemic, while a global shift to working remotely boosted demand for its tech products. Malaysian ringgit strengthened 0.6% on Thursday, while Singapore dollar also gained some ground. Emerging Asia's currencies stand to benefit from a recovery in economic growth next year, with trade-linked Taiwan dollar, Singapore dollar, won and yuan appearing as winners, whereas low interest-rate and inflation environment should support the region's carry trade favourites, Wong said. A slump in shares of Sime Darby Plantation knocked Malaysian stock index sharply lower after the United States banned imports of palm oil from the producer over allegations of forced labour. Stock markets in the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan and South Korea were closed for a holiday. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Singapore GDP to extend decline in Q4 - Reuters poll ** Top losers on FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kl Index include Sime Darby Plantation Bhd, down 3.29%, and Press Metal Aluminium Holdings Bhd, down 1.88% ** Singapore's 10-year benchmark yield is down 1.7 basis points at 0.839% Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0458 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX DAILY % FX YTD INDEX STOCKS DAILY % STOCKS YTD % % Japan +0.02 +5.29 0.00 16.01 China -0.08 +6.63 0.83 12.87 India +0.30 -2.33 0.04 14.95 Malaysia +0.62 +1.97 -0.55 2.93 Philippines +0.00 +5.50 0.00 -8.64 Singapore +0.01 +1.63 -0.89 -11.76 Taiwan +0.00 +5.61 0.16 22.63 (Reporting by A K Pranav and Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)

EMERGING MARKETS-Lockdown blues knock down Thailand stocks, Singapore shares firm

Dec 30 2020

* Indonesian stocks set for worst year since 2015 * Thai stocks mark biggest yearly loss in two * Asia's emerging currencies broadly firmer By Pranav A K Dec 30 Thailand's stock index reversed course to fall as much as 1% on Wednesday after a spike in coronavirus cases sparked fears of another lockdown in the tourism-and-trade-reliant country, with the benchmark on course to end the year as one of the worst performers in Asia. Bangkok shares came under pressure in their last trading day of 2020, taking this year's losses to about 8%, after 250 new coronavirus cases were reported, a sharp jump from the previous session when authorities had warned of more intensive measures to halt the spread of the outbreak. "It's typical COVID play," said Poon Panichpibool, a market strategist at Krung Thai Bank. "The concern today is the spike in virus cases. Every sector is hit by the fear of a new lockdown as cases are expected to keep rising," he added. Southeast Asia's second largest economy, which is reeling from a new cluster discovered 13 days ago at a seafood market near Bangkok, downgraded its 2021 GDP forecast last week on hit to its heavyweight tourism sector. Elsewhere, Indonesian equities slid to a one-week low in their final session of the year and were headed to mark an annual loss of about 5%. Jakarta signed an agreement with two drugmakers AstraZeneca and Novavax on Wednesday for 100 million doses of vaccines but analysts flagged concerns over the lack of infrastructure in the country. "Signing of agreement is one thing but ability to transport the vaccines in required number in desired conditions to all parts of the country is a big challenge," said Kunal Kundu, an economist at Societe Generale. Among gainers was Singapore's main index, up 0.8%, which clocked a near two-week high as the city-state became one of the first Asian countries to begin an inoculation campaign against the coronavirus. Asia's emerging currencies were broadly firmer against a soft dollar, with the South Korean won climbing to a near three-week high after the government looked set to buy COVID-19 vaccines for most of its population. Stock markets in the Philippines were closed for a public holiday, while trading volumes were thin across the region ahead of the new year holiday break. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are down 15.6 basis points at 5.942%. ** Top losers on the Jakarta stock index include Atlas Resources Tbk PT and Resource Alam Indonesia Tbk PT down 7% each. ** Top losers on Thailand's SETI include Stark Corporation PCL down 19.42% and Apex Development PCL down 14.29%. Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0814 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX DAILY % FX YTD % INDEX STOCKS DAILY % STOCKS YTD % Japan +0.24 +5.13 -0.45 16.01 China -0.06 +6.58 1.05 11.94 India +0.14 -2.65 -0.21 14.26 Indonesia +0.50 -1.14 -0.95 -5.09 Malaysia +0.35 +1.36 0.55 3.48 Philippines -0.06 +5.41 0.00 -8.64 S.Korea +0.53 +6.45 1.88 30.75 Singapore +0.20 +1.52 0.80 -10.92 Taiwan +0.03 +5.61 1.49 22.43 Thailand +0.10 -0.30 -0.17 -7.62 (Reporting by A K Pranav in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)

EMERGING MARKETS-Lockdown blues knock down Thailand stocks, Singapore shares firm

Dec 30 2020

* Indonesian stocks set for worst year since 2015 * Thai stocks mark biggest yearly loss in two * Asia's emerging currencies broadly firmer By Pranav A K Dec 30 Thailand's stock index reversed course to fall as much as 1% on Wednesday after a spike in coronavirus cases sparked fears of another lockdown in the tourism-and-trade-reliant country, with the benchmark on course to end the year as one of the worst performers in Asia. Bangkok shares came under pressure in their last trading day of 2020, taking this year's losses to about 8%, after 250 new coronavirus cases were reported, a sharp jump from the previous session when authorities had warned of more intensive measures to halt the spread of the outbreak. "It's typical COVID play," said Poon Panichpibool, a market strategist at Krung Thai Bank. "The concern today is the spike in virus cases. Every sector is hit by the fear of a new lockdown as cases are expected to keep rising," he added. Southeast Asia's second largest economy, which is reeling from a new cluster discovered 13 days ago at a seafood market near Bangkok, downgraded its 2021 GDP forecast last week on hit to its heavyweight tourism sector. Elsewhere, Indonesian equities slid to a one-week low in their final session of the year and were headed to mark an annual loss of about 5%. Jakarta signed an agreement with two drugmakers AstraZeneca and Novavax on Wednesday for 100 million doses of vaccines but analysts flagged concerns over the lack of infrastructure in the country. "Signing of agreement is one thing but ability to transport the vaccines in required number in desired conditions to all parts of the country is a big challenge," said Kunal Kundu, an economist at Societe Generale. Among gainers was Singapore's main index, up 0.8%, which clocked a near two-week high as the city-state became one of the first Asian countries to begin an inoculation campaign against the coronavirus. Asia's emerging currencies were broadly firmer against a soft dollar, with the South Korean won climbing to a near three-week high after the government looked set to buy COVID-19 vaccines for most of its population. Stock markets in the Philippines were closed for a public holiday, while trading volumes were thin across the region ahead of the new year holiday break. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are down 15.6 basis points at 5.942%. ** Top losers on the Jakarta stock index include Atlas Resources Tbk PT and Resource Alam Indonesia Tbk PT down 7% each. ** Top losers on Thailand's SETI include Stark Corporation PCL down 19.42% and Apex Development PCL down 14.29%. Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0814 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX DAILY % FX YTD % INDEX STOCKS DAILY % STOCKS YTD % Japan +0.24 +5.13 -0.45 16.01 China -0.06 +6.58 1.05 11.94 India +0.14 -2.65 -0.21 14.26 Indonesia +0.50 -1.14 -0.95 -5.09 Malaysia +0.35 +1.36 0.55 3.48 Philippines -0.06 +5.41 0.00 -8.64 S.Korea +0.53 +6.45 1.88 30.75 Singapore +0.20 +1.52 0.80 -10.92 Taiwan +0.03 +5.61 1.49 22.43 Thailand +0.10 -0.30 -0.17 -7.62 (Reporting by A K Pranav in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)

EMERGING MARKETS-Most Asian currencies advance, likely vaccine deal boosts won

Dec 30 2020

* Singapore begins rollout of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine * Thai stocks jump nearly 1% in last trading day of year * Philippine stock markets shut for holiday By Pranav A K Dec 30 Asia's emerging currencies were broadly firmer against a soft dollar on Wednesday, with the South Korean won at a near three-week high after the government looked set to buy COVID-19 vaccines for most of its population. Singapore's dollar, the Malaysian ringgit and the Indonesia's rupiah gained between 0.2% and 0.3% as the greenback hit an almost two-year low, continuing its steady decline since U.S. President Donald Trump signed a coronavirus aid bill on Sunday. The won climbed 0.5% after U.S. biotech company Moderna Inc said on Tuesday it was in discussions with Seoul to supply 40 million or more doses of its COVID-19 vaccine. The news came a day after South Korea, which has a population of 52 million, detected its first cases of the new coronavirus variant. "Basically broad U.S. dollar softness and vaccine optimism remain the key drivers of Asian FX strength this morning," said Christopher Wong, a senior foreign exchange strategist at Maybank. Heading into 2021, Mizuho Bank said in a note that the intensifying hunt for yield amid a deluge of cheap money will boost emerging markets assets and currencies, with currency moves also played up by a chronic soft U.S. dollar trend. Dollar weakness also underpinned gains in Asian stock markets, extending a year-end rally on hopes that vaccine rollouts would help regional economies shake off the pandemic's grip soon. Thai stocks jumped 0.9% in their last trading day of the year, while Singapore's main index notched a near two-week high as the city-state became one of the first Asian countries to begin an inoculation campaign against the coronavirus, with the Pfizer-BioNTech, COVID-19 vaccine. "Overall Singapore has been the laggard over the last 12 months and they're just catching up with the rest of the region. Valuations are cheap for Singapore stocks," said Joel Ng, an analyst at KGI Securities in Singapore. He added that Singapore is dependent on regional travel and trade and the vaccine news will help the country to open up soon. India's NSE Nifty 50 index faltered after a record run after the country's central bank warned the financial sector faces challening times ahead. Stock markets in the Philippines were closed for a public holiday, while trading volumes were thin across the region ahead of the New Year's eve break. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are down 18.6 basis points at 5.911% ** Top gainers on the Thailand's SETI include Castle Peak Holdings PCL up 24.2% AND Delta Electronics Thailand PCL up 19.18% ** Top gainers on the Singapore STI include Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust AND Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Holdings Ltd rising nearly 1.6% each Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0452 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX DAILY % FX YTD % INDEX STOCKS DAILY % STOCKS YTD % Japan +0.27 +5.16 -0.31 16.17 China +0.10 +6.74 0.90 11.78 India +0.14 -2.65 -0.16 14.31 Indonesia +0.32 -1.32 -0.77 -4.92 Malaysia +0.25 +1.26 0.14 3.05 Philippine -0.02 +5.45 0.25 -8.64 s S.Korea +0.54 +6.46 1.50 30.26 Singapore +0.20 +1.52 0.54 -11.15 Taiwan +1.48 +7.14 0.80 21.60 Thailand +0.07 -0.33 0.39 -7.10 (Reporting by A K Pranav in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill)

EMERGING MARKETS-Most Asian currencies advance, likely vaccine deal boosts won

Dec 30 2020

* Singapore begins rollout of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine * Thai stocks jump nearly 1% in last trading day of year * Philippine stock markets shut for holiday By Pranav A K Dec 30 Asia's emerging currencies were broadly firmer against a soft dollar on Wednesday, with the South Korean won at a near three-week high after the government looked set to buy COVID-19 vaccines for most of its population. Singapore's dollar, the Malaysian ringgit and the Indonesia's rupiah gained between 0.2% and 0.3% as the greenback hit an almost two-year low, continuing its steady decline since U.S. President Donald Trump signed a coronavirus aid bill on Sunday. The won climbed 0.5% after U.S. biotech company Moderna Inc said on Tuesday it was in discussions with Seoul to supply 40 million or more doses of its COVID-19 vaccine. The news came a day after South Korea, which has a population of 52 million, detected its first cases of the new coronavirus variant. "Basically broad U.S. dollar softness and vaccine optimism remain the key drivers of Asian FX strength this morning," said Christopher Wong, a senior foreign exchange strategist at Maybank. Heading into 2021, Mizuho Bank said in a note that the intensifying hunt for yield amid a deluge of cheap money will boost emerging markets assets and currencies, with currency moves also played up by a chronic soft U.S. dollar trend. Dollar weakness also underpinned gains in Asian stock markets, extending a year-end rally on hopes that vaccine rollouts would help regional economies shake off the pandemic's grip soon. Thai stocks jumped 0.9% in their last trading day of the year, while Singapore's main index notched a near two-week high as the city-state became one of the first Asian countries to begin an inoculation campaign against the coronavirus, with the Pfizer-BioNTech, COVID-19 vaccine. "Overall Singapore has been the laggard over the last 12 months and they're just catching up with the rest of the region. Valuations are cheap for Singapore stocks," said Joel Ng, an analyst at KGI Securities in Singapore. He added that Singapore is dependent on regional travel and trade and the vaccine news will help the country to open up soon. India's NSE Nifty 50 index faltered after a record run after the country's central bank warned the financial sector faces challening times ahead. Stock markets in the Philippines were closed for a public holiday, while trading volumes were thin across the region ahead of the New Year's eve break. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are down 18.6 basis points at 5.911% ** Top gainers on the Thailand's SETI include Castle Peak Holdings PCL up 24.2% AND Delta Electronics Thailand PCL up 19.18% ** Top gainers on the Singapore STI include Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust AND Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Holdings Ltd rising nearly 1.6% each Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0452 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX DAILY % FX YTD % INDEX STOCKS DAILY % STOCKS YTD % Japan +0.27 +5.16 -0.31 16.17 China +0.10 +6.74 0.90 11.78 India +0.14 -2.65 -0.16 14.31 Indonesia +0.32 -1.32 -0.77 -4.92 Malaysia +0.25 +1.26 0.14 3.05 Philippine -0.02 +5.45 0.25 -8.64 s S.Korea +0.54 +6.46 1.50 30.26 Singapore +0.20 +1.52 0.54 -11.15 Taiwan +1.48 +7.14 0.80 21.60 Thailand +0.07 -0.33 0.39 -7.10 (Reporting by A K Pranav in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill)

EMERGING MARKETS-Philippine shares rise on budget cheer, but mark biggest annual loss in two

Dec 29 2020

* Philippine shares down nearly 9% in 2020 * Thai stocks reverse course to trade lower * Taiwanese dollar leads gains on Asia FX By Pranav A K Dec 29 Philippine shares rose on Tuesday after the country approved a record budget to shore up its economy, although the benchmark closed the year as one of the worst performers in the region due to the economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In their last trading day of the year, stocks in Manila finished at a near one-week high and recorded their third straight monthly gain, following the signing of a 4.5 trillion pesos ($93.73 billion) budget. Luis Limlingan, managing director at Manila-based brokerage firm Regina Capital Development Corp said that some year-end window dressing by money managers also aided the market. But, for the year, the benchmark closed nearly 9% lower to mark its worst annual performance in two years as the country battles the second-worst virus outbreak in Southeast Asia. In Malaysia, a slump in the shares of glove makers hurt the benchmark index, with heavyweights Top Glove Corp and Hartalega Holdings down for a third session. Glove-making companies had enjoyed a surge in demand during the coronavirus crisis, but vaccine approvals and worries about their treatment of migrant workers have slowed their momentum. While Bangkok shares traded higher during most of the morning session, the index changed course to trade lower as the first coronavirus death in nearly two months ignited fears of more lockdowns. "Fears of more lockdowns remain a major source of concern for the market after the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus, both at home and abroad," analysts at Phillip Securities said. However, the Thai baht climbed 0.4%, drawing support from news that Britain was nearing an approval a COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. Analysts at Phillip Securities also said Thailand should reap the benefits from the vaccine approval as it signed an agreement to partner with AstraZeneca-Oxford to produce and supply their COVID-19 vaccine for the Southeast Asian region. Most other markets across the region gained, with Seoul's KOSPI closing at a record high, while Indian shares and Singapore's FTSE Straits Times Index rose about 0.3% each. Currencies across Asia's emerging markets were flat to stronger as the dollar languished amid optimism around a COVID-19 relief package in the United States. The Taiwanese dollar led the pack, holding near its highest level since 1997, while the won gained 0.4% after reports Seoul will sign a deal with Moderna Inc to offer COVID-19 vaccines for 20 million people. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are down 17.5 basis points at 5.922% ** In the Philippines, top index gainers are Megaworld Corp , up 3.03%, and Universal Robina Corp, up 2.35% ** Top losers on Thailand's SETI include Delta Electronics Thailand PCL, down 22.14%, and Union Plastic PCL, down 14.21% Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0829 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX DAILY % FX YTD % INDEX STOCKS DAILY % STOCKS YTD % Japan +0.15 +4.82 2.66 16.53 China +0.13 +6.63 -0.54 10.78 India +0.13 -2.77 0.35 14.40 Indonesia +0.21 -1.63 -0.94 -4.18 Malaysia -0.01 +1.01 -0.61 2.84 Philippines +0.00 +5.45 0.25 -8.64 S.Korea +0.42 +5.89 0.42 28.34 Singapore +0.20 +1.29 0.35 -11.56 Taiwan +0.04 +5.58 -0.08 20.63 Thailand +0.43 -0.40 -0.30 -8.33 (Reporting by A K Pranav in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

EMERGING MARKETS-Philippine shares rise on budget cheer, but mark biggest annual loss in two

Dec 29 2020

* Philippine shares down nearly 9% in 2020 * Thai stocks reverse course to trade lower * Taiwanese dollar leads gains on Asia FX By Pranav A K Dec 29 Philippine shares rose on Tuesday after the country approved a record budget to shore up its economy, although the benchmark closed the year as one of the worst performers in the region due to the economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In their last trading day of the year, stocks in Manila finished at a near one-week high and recorded their third straight monthly gain, following the signing of a 4.5 trillion pesos ($93.73 billion) budget. Luis Limlingan, managing director at Manila-based brokerage firm Regina Capital Development Corp said that some year-end window dressing by money managers also aided the market. But, for the year, the benchmark closed nearly 9% lower to mark its worst annual performance in two years as the country battles the second-worst virus outbreak in Southeast Asia. In Malaysia, a slump in the shares of glove makers hurt the benchmark index, with heavyweights Top Glove Corp and Hartalega Holdings down for a third session. Glove-making companies had enjoyed a surge in demand during the coronavirus crisis, but vaccine approvals and worries about their treatment of migrant workers have slowed their momentum. While Bangkok shares traded higher during most of the morning session, the index changed course to trade lower as the first coronavirus death in nearly two months ignited fears of more lockdowns. "Fears of more lockdowns remain a major source of concern for the market after the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus, both at home and abroad," analysts at Phillip Securities said. However, the Thai baht climbed 0.4%, drawing support from news that Britain was nearing an approval a COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. Analysts at Phillip Securities also said Thailand should reap the benefits from the vaccine approval as it signed an agreement to partner with AstraZeneca-Oxford to produce and supply their COVID-19 vaccine for the Southeast Asian region. Most other markets across the region gained, with Seoul's KOSPI closing at a record high, while Indian shares and Singapore's FTSE Straits Times Index rose about 0.3% each. Currencies across Asia's emerging markets were flat to stronger as the dollar languished amid optimism around a COVID-19 relief package in the United States. The Taiwanese dollar led the pack, holding near its highest level since 1997, while the won gained 0.4% after reports Seoul will sign a deal with Moderna Inc to offer COVID-19 vaccines for 20 million people. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are down 17.5 basis points at 5.922% ** In the Philippines, top index gainers are Megaworld Corp , up 3.03%, and Universal Robina Corp, up 2.35% ** Top losers on Thailand's SETI include Delta Electronics Thailand PCL, down 22.14%, and Union Plastic PCL, down 14.21% Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0829 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX DAILY % FX YTD % INDEX STOCKS DAILY % STOCKS YTD % Japan +0.15 +4.82 2.66 16.53 China +0.13 +6.63 -0.54 10.78 India +0.13 -2.77 0.35 14.40 Indonesia +0.21 -1.63 -0.94 -4.18 Malaysia -0.01 +1.01 -0.61 2.84 Philippines +0.00 +5.45 0.25 -8.64 S.Korea +0.42 +5.89 0.42 28.34 Singapore +0.20 +1.29 0.35 -11.56 Taiwan +0.04 +5.58 -0.08 20.63 Thailand +0.43 -0.40 -0.30 -8.33 (Reporting by A K Pranav in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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