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International

Rashmi Ashok

Australia's Hansen Technologies gets $1 billion offer from BGH Capital, shares jump

Jun 06 2021

Hansen Technologies on Monday received a conditional and non-binding buyout proposal from private equity firm BGH Capital in a deal that values the billing solutions provider at A$1.3 billion ($1 billion), sending its shares to a record high.

EMERGING MARKETS-Asian stocks spooked by U.S. inflation spike; Taiwan stocks extend slide

May 13 2021

* Graphic: World FX rates http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh * Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks https://tmsnrt.rs/3f2vwbA * U.S. April inflation rises by most in nearly 12 years * Outlook for EM financial assets troublesome - BCA Research * Taiwan stocks end lower, down 9.3% so far this week By Rashmi Ashok May 13 Asian equities fell on Thursday after data showing a jump in U.S. inflation reinforced fears that the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates sooner than planned, while Taiwan's stocks slumped for a third session on fears of a COVID-19 resurgence. Currencies were also broadly weaker as the U.S. dollar stood tall following the inflation data, with the South Korean won down 0.5% to a six-week low, while the Thai baht was off 0.4%. Markets in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines were closed for the Eid festival. Overnight, U.S. stocks tumbled after data showed consumer prices increased by the most in nearly 12 years last month, raising bets of a Fed rate hike as early as December next year. Higher U.S. rates put pressure on Asian markets, which yield-seekers usually prefer given their relatively higher interest rates. Furthermore, resurgences of COVID-19 would make it harder for Asian central banks to match a potential rate-hike cycle in the United States. "Rising U.S. bond yields and a budding global risk-off move will likely trigger a rebound in the greenback," analysts at BCA Research wrote. "The outlook for EM financial assets remains troublesome and we continue underweighting EM equities and credit versus their developed market peers." Shares in Taipei ended 1.5% lower despite reports that the island's finance ministry called state-owned banks to "suggest" they buy stocks amid steep falls in the stock market, according to Reuters sources. The index fell 4% on Wednesday after authorities warned that Taiwan could face tighter restrictions that would shut non-essential businesses, after a rise in new domestic COVID-19 infections earlier this week. In the previous two sessions, the stock index lost nearly 8%. By April-end, it had clocked a massive 100% rise from lows touched in March last year, as demand for its electronics exports skyrocketed due to the shift to working from home. HIGHLIGHTS ** Equities in Thailand fell nearly 1%, with energy firms PTT down 0.6% and Gulf Energy Development down 1.5% ** Thailand's 10-year government bond yields are up 2 basis points at 1.68%​​, while the 3-year benchmark yield is up 1 basis point at 0.57%​​ ** Japanese stocks decline 2.5% to a 4-month low; SoftBank Group tumbles as tech shares come under pressure Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0642 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDE STOCKS STOCK DAILY YTD % X DAILY S YTD % % % Japan +0.05 -5.79 <.N2 -2.49 0.01 25> China <CNY=CFX +0.11 +1.20 <.SS -1.13 -1.43 S> EC> S.Korea <KRW=KFT -0.41 -3.82 <.KS -1.25 8.65 C> 11> Taiwan -0.09 +1.80 <.TW -1.46 6.36 II> Thailan -0.35 -4.37 <.SE -0.96 7.41 d TI> (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

EMERGING MARKETS-Asian stocks spooked by U.S. inflation spike; Taiwan stocks extend slide

May 13 2021

* Graphic: World FX rates http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh * Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks https://tmsnrt.rs/3f2vwbA * U.S. April inflation rises by most in nearly 12 years * Outlook for EM financial assets troublesome - BCA Research * Taiwan stocks end lower, down 9.3% so far this week By Rashmi Ashok May 13 Asian equities fell on Thursday after data showing a jump in U.S. inflation reinforced fears that the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates sooner than planned, while Taiwan's stocks slumped for a third session on fears of a COVID-19 resurgence. Currencies were also broadly weaker as the U.S. dollar stood tall following the inflation data, with the South Korean won down 0.5% to a six-week low, while the Thai baht was off 0.4%. Markets in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines were closed for the Eid festival. Overnight, U.S. stocks tumbled after data showed consumer prices increased by the most in nearly 12 years last month, raising bets of a Fed rate hike as early as December next year. Higher U.S. rates put pressure on Asian markets, which yield-seekers usually prefer given their relatively higher interest rates. Furthermore, resurgences of COVID-19 would make it harder for Asian central banks to match a potential rate-hike cycle in the United States. "Rising U.S. bond yields and a budding global risk-off move will likely trigger a rebound in the greenback," analysts at BCA Research wrote. "The outlook for EM financial assets remains troublesome and we continue underweighting EM equities and credit versus their developed market peers." Shares in Taipei ended 1.5% lower despite reports that the island's finance ministry called state-owned banks to "suggest" they buy stocks amid steep falls in the stock market, according to Reuters sources. The index fell 4% on Wednesday after authorities warned that Taiwan could face tighter restrictions that would shut non-essential businesses, after a rise in new domestic COVID-19 infections earlier this week. In the previous two sessions, the stock index lost nearly 8%. By April-end, it had clocked a massive 100% rise from lows touched in March last year, as demand for its electronics exports skyrocketed due to the shift to working from home. HIGHLIGHTS ** Equities in Thailand fell nearly 1%, with energy firms PTT down 0.6% and Gulf Energy Development down 1.5% ** Thailand's 10-year government bond yields are up 2 basis points at 1.68%​​, while the 3-year benchmark yield is up 1 basis point at 0.57%​​ ** Japanese stocks decline 2.5% to a 4-month low; SoftBank Group tumbles as tech shares come under pressure Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0642 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDE STOCKS STOCK DAILY YTD % X DAILY S YTD % % % Japan +0.05 -5.79 <.N2 -2.49 0.01 25> China <CNY=CFX +0.11 +1.20 <.SS -1.13 -1.43 S> EC> S.Korea <KRW=KFT -0.41 -3.82 <.KS -1.25 8.65 C> 11> Taiwan -0.09 +1.80 <.TW -1.46 6.36 II> Thailan -0.35 -4.37 <.SE -0.96 7.41 d TI> (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

EMERGING MARKETS-Asian stocks fall on U.S. inflation spike; Taiwan stocks recover

May 13 2021

* Graphic: World FX rates http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh * Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks https://tmsnrt.rs/3f2vwbA * Taiwan stocks add 0.6% after sell-off on Wednesday * Oil prices fall, hurting Thai energy companies * Various markets closed on Eid holiday By Rashmi Ashok May 13 Asian equities fell on Thursday after data showing a jump in U.S. inflation reinforced fears that the Federal Reserve would o raise interest rates sooner than expected, while Taiwan's stocks attempted a recovery from the previous day's slump. Currencies were also broadly weaker as the U.S. dollar stood tall following the inflation data, with the South Korean won down 0.5% to a six-week low, while the Thai baht was off 0.4%. Markets in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore remained closed for the Eid festival. Overnight, U.S. stocks tumbled after data showed consumer prices increased by the most in nearly 12 years in April as booming demand pushed against supply constraints, raising bets of a rate hike as soon as December next year. Higher U.S. rates puts pressure on Asian markets, which yield-seekers usually prefer given their relatively higher interest rates. Furthermore, resurgences of COVID-19 make it harder for Asian centyral banks to match a rate-hiking cycle. If U.S. inflation data does not calm in the next few months, the challenge to the Fed's credibility over its insistence that inflation is only transitory could be disruptive, Tai Hui, chief Asia market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, wrote. "Asia will probably follow the U.S. in the near term, except for the Chinese onshore market. COVID-19 outbreaks in several parts of Asia are adding to uncertainties on the pace of domestic demand recovery, despite strong export performance, especially in northeast Asia." Stocks in Taipei reversed early losses to rise 0.6%, trying to recover after a 4% tumble on Wednesday that was sparked by warnings that Taiwan could face tighter restrictions that would shut non-essential businesses. The warning from authorities came after a rare rise in domestic COVID-19 infections that has unnerved the island, which has so far successfully curbed the spead of infections and never gone into complete lockdown. On Thursday, Taiwanese cities tightened restrictions on access to public venues like gyms and libraries, but the government did not announce any sweeping curbs. Across the last two sessions, the stock index lost nearly 8%. By April end, it had clocked a massive 100% rise from lows touched in March last year, as demand for its electronics exports skyrocketed due to the shift to working from home. Equities in Thailand fell nearly 1%, as India's COVID-19 resurgence hit oil prices, denting large-cap energy firms. PTT shed 0.6% while Gulf Energy Development lost 0.7%. HIGHLIGHTS ** Thailand's 10-year government bond yields are up 3 basis points at 1.69%​​ while the 3-year benchmark yield is up 1 basis points at 0.57%​​ ** Taiwan's large-cap electronics firm Hon Hai Precision Industry rose 2.5% ** South Korea's benchmark index traded 0.5% lower, but is 9.5% higher YTD Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0329 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDE STOCKS STOCK DAILY YTD % X DAILY S YTD % % % Japan -0.02 -5.86 <.N2 -1.84 0.67 25> China <CNY=CFX +0.06 +1.16 <.SS -0.54 -0.84 S> EC> S.Korea <KRW=KFT -0.46 -3.87 <.KS -0.27 9.74 C> 11> Taiwan -0.01 +1.87 <.TW 0.51 8.49 II> Thailan -0.35 -4.37 <.SE -0.85 7.53 d TI> (Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

EMERGING MARKETS-Asian stocks fall on U.S. inflation spike; Taiwan stocks recover

May 13 2021

* Graphic: World FX rates http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh * Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks https://tmsnrt.rs/3f2vwbA * Taiwan stocks add 0.6% after sell-off on Wednesday * Oil prices fall, hurting Thai energy companies * Various markets closed on Eid holiday By Rashmi Ashok May 13 Asian equities fell on Thursday after data showing a jump in U.S. inflation reinforced fears that the Federal Reserve would o raise interest rates sooner than expected, while Taiwan's stocks attempted a recovery from the previous day's slump. Currencies were also broadly weaker as the U.S. dollar stood tall following the inflation data, with the South Korean won down 0.5% to a six-week low, while the Thai baht was off 0.4%. Markets in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore remained closed for the Eid festival. Overnight, U.S. stocks tumbled after data showed consumer prices increased by the most in nearly 12 years in April as booming demand pushed against supply constraints, raising bets of a rate hike as soon as December next year. Higher U.S. rates puts pressure on Asian markets, which yield-seekers usually prefer given their relatively higher interest rates. Furthermore, resurgences of COVID-19 make it harder for Asian centyral banks to match a rate-hiking cycle. If U.S. inflation data does not calm in the next few months, the challenge to the Fed's credibility over its insistence that inflation is only transitory could be disruptive, Tai Hui, chief Asia market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, wrote. "Asia will probably follow the U.S. in the near term, except for the Chinese onshore market. COVID-19 outbreaks in several parts of Asia are adding to uncertainties on the pace of domestic demand recovery, despite strong export performance, especially in northeast Asia." Stocks in Taipei reversed early losses to rise 0.6%, trying to recover after a 4% tumble on Wednesday that was sparked by warnings that Taiwan could face tighter restrictions that would shut non-essential businesses. The warning from authorities came after a rare rise in domestic COVID-19 infections that has unnerved the island, which has so far successfully curbed the spead of infections and never gone into complete lockdown. On Thursday, Taiwanese cities tightened restrictions on access to public venues like gyms and libraries, but the government did not announce any sweeping curbs. Across the last two sessions, the stock index lost nearly 8%. By April end, it had clocked a massive 100% rise from lows touched in March last year, as demand for its electronics exports skyrocketed due to the shift to working from home. Equities in Thailand fell nearly 1%, as India's COVID-19 resurgence hit oil prices, denting large-cap energy firms. PTT shed 0.6% while Gulf Energy Development lost 0.7%. HIGHLIGHTS ** Thailand's 10-year government bond yields are up 3 basis points at 1.69%​​ while the 3-year benchmark yield is up 1 basis points at 0.57%​​ ** Taiwan's large-cap electronics firm Hon Hai Precision Industry rose 2.5% ** South Korea's benchmark index traded 0.5% lower, but is 9.5% higher YTD Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0329 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDE STOCKS STOCK DAILY YTD % X DAILY S YTD % % % Japan -0.02 -5.86 <.N2 -1.84 0.67 25> China <CNY=CFX +0.06 +1.16 <.SS -0.54 -0.84 S> EC> S.Korea <KRW=KFT -0.46 -3.87 <.KS -0.27 9.74 C> 11> Taiwan -0.01 +1.87 <.TW 0.51 8.49 II> Thailan -0.35 -4.37 <.SE -0.85 7.53 d TI> (Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

EMERGING MARKETS-Taiwan leads losses as Asian markets fall on inflation anxiety

May 12 2021

* Graphic: World FX rates http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh * Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks https://tmsnrt.rs/3f2vwbA * Taiwan stocks mark worst session since March 19, 2020 * Taiwan finmin steps in to calm equity markets * Philippine c.bank keeps rates at record low By Rashmi Ashok May 12 Taiwan stocks closed 4% lower on Wednesday and clocked their worst day in more than a year as authorities mulled tighter restrictions to tackle COVID-19 cases, while other Asian equities fell on concerns of growing U.S. inflationary pressure. Equities in Taipei pulled back from early losses of nearly 8.6% while the Taiwan dollar recovered to hold steady after the country's deputy finance minister stepped in to call for calm, saying the stock market's fundamentals were sound. Risk appetite took a beating after health authorities said they may raise the country's COVID-19 alert level in "coming days", which would mean closure of non-essential businesses, after a cluster of six new cases with no clear infection source was found. Even a small number of cases poses a huge challenge for the island that has kept a tight lid on community outbreaks. As of April-end, Taiwan stocks rose more than 100% from their lowest levels in March last year, buoyed by strong demand for the country's chips and electronics exports as the work-from-home shift boosted demand for home electronics. The Philippine central bank kept its benchmark interest rates unchanged at a record low, as widely expected, in a bid to support economic recovery amid a recent spike in COVID-19 cases. Shares closed 1.4% lower at six-month low prior to the decision. Currencies and stocks in export-focused nations fell most, with shares in Seoul slipping 1.5% and the won weakening 0.5%. Thai equities lost 0.8% and the Thai baht weakened 0.3%. Despite various U.S. Federal Reserve officials reiterating a firmly dovish policy stance, investors worried that higher inflation from a spike in commodity prices could force the Fed to raise interest rates. U.S. inflation data due later in the day also added to nerves. "Markets are calling the Fed's bluff, fearing that it may need to hike rates more quickly and aggressively than expected. The U.S. CPI release will be a big focus for more clues," said Mitul Kotecha, chief EM Asia and Europe strategist at TD Securities. "Should the Fed hint at an earlier taper, it would likely put pressure on Asian markets, with a likely firmer dollar weighing on Asian FX and higher U.S. yields pressurising Asian local currency bonds and equities," Kotecha said. Indonesian markets were closed for the Eid festival. Markets in India, Malaysia and Singapore will also be on holiday on Thursday for the festival. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Thailand's 10-year government bond yields are down 1.5 basis points at 1.67%​​ ** In the Philippines, top index losers are Megaworld Corp , which dropped 5.37%, and Metro Pacific Investments Corp that fell 4.46% ** Top losers on FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kl Index include Telekom Malaysia Bhd, down 2.42%, and Sime Darby Plantation Bhd that slipped 2.36% Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0808 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDEX STOCKS STOCKS DAILY YTD % DAILY YTD % % % Japan -0.16 -5.09 -1.61 2.56 China <CNY=CFX -0.24 +1.31 0.61 -0.30 S> India -0.15 -0.52 -0.52 5.66 Malaysia -0.19 -2.52 0.31 -2.75 Philippines +0.10 +0.46 -1.43 -12.65 S.Korea <KRW=KFT -0.45 -3.42 -1.49 10.03 C> Singapore -0.20 -0.53 -0.70 9.79 Taiwan -0.01 +1.89 -4.11 7.94 Thailand -0.26 -3.88 -0.79 8.08 (Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

EMERGING MARKETS-Taiwan leads losses as Asian markets fall on inflation anxiety

May 12 2021

* Graphic: World FX rates http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh * Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks https://tmsnrt.rs/3f2vwbA * Taiwan stocks mark worst session since March 19, 2020 * Taiwan finmin steps in to calm equity markets * Philippine c.bank keeps rates at record low By Rashmi Ashok May 12 Taiwan stocks closed 4% lower on Wednesday and clocked their worst day in more than a year as authorities mulled tighter restrictions to tackle COVID-19 cases, while other Asian equities fell on concerns of growing U.S. inflationary pressure. Equities in Taipei pulled back from early losses of nearly 8.6% while the Taiwan dollar recovered to hold steady after the country's deputy finance minister stepped in to call for calm, saying the stock market's fundamentals were sound. Risk appetite took a beating after health authorities said they may raise the country's COVID-19 alert level in "coming days", which would mean closure of non-essential businesses, after a cluster of six new cases with no clear infection source was found. Even a small number of cases poses a huge challenge for the island that has kept a tight lid on community outbreaks. As of April-end, Taiwan stocks rose more than 100% from their lowest levels in March last year, buoyed by strong demand for the country's chips and electronics exports as the work-from-home shift boosted demand for home electronics. The Philippine central bank kept its benchmark interest rates unchanged at a record low, as widely expected, in a bid to support economic recovery amid a recent spike in COVID-19 cases. Shares closed 1.4% lower at six-month low prior to the decision. Currencies and stocks in export-focused nations fell most, with shares in Seoul slipping 1.5% and the won weakening 0.5%. Thai equities lost 0.8% and the Thai baht weakened 0.3%. Despite various U.S. Federal Reserve officials reiterating a firmly dovish policy stance, investors worried that higher inflation from a spike in commodity prices could force the Fed to raise interest rates. U.S. inflation data due later in the day also added to nerves. "Markets are calling the Fed's bluff, fearing that it may need to hike rates more quickly and aggressively than expected. The U.S. CPI release will be a big focus for more clues," said Mitul Kotecha, chief EM Asia and Europe strategist at TD Securities. "Should the Fed hint at an earlier taper, it would likely put pressure on Asian markets, with a likely firmer dollar weighing on Asian FX and higher U.S. yields pressurising Asian local currency bonds and equities," Kotecha said. Indonesian markets were closed for the Eid festival. Markets in India, Malaysia and Singapore will also be on holiday on Thursday for the festival. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Thailand's 10-year government bond yields are down 1.5 basis points at 1.67%​​ ** In the Philippines, top index losers are Megaworld Corp , which dropped 5.37%, and Metro Pacific Investments Corp that fell 4.46% ** Top losers on FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kl Index include Telekom Malaysia Bhd, down 2.42%, and Sime Darby Plantation Bhd that slipped 2.36% Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0808 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDE STOCKS STOCK DAILY YTD % X DAILY S YTD % % % Japan -0.16 -5.09 <.N2 -1.61 2.56 25> China <CNY=CFX -0.24 +1.31 <.SS 0.61 -0.30 S> EC> India -0.15 -0.52 <.NS -0.52 5.66 EI> Malaysi -0.19 -2.52 <.KL 0.31 -2.75 a SE> Philipp +0.10 +0.46 <.PS -1.43 -12.6 ines I> 5 S.Korea <KRW=KFT -0.45 -3.42 <.KS -1.49 10.03 C> 11> Singapo -0.20 -0.53 <.ST -0.70 9.79 re I> Taiwan -0.01 +1.89 <.TW -4.11 7.94 II> Thailan -0.26 -3.88 <.SE -0.79 8.08 d TI> (Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

EMERGING MARKETS-Taiwan stocks eye worst day since 1994 on COVID-19 risk; Asian markets dip

May 12 2021

* Graphic: World FX rates http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh * Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks https://tmsnrt.rs/3f2vwbA * Taiwan stocks down 8.6%, FX down 0.2% on possible virus curbs * Philippine stocks at lowest since Oct 2020 * Philippine c.bank set to keep rates unchanged at record low * Asian FX, stocks pressured as U.S. inflation views build By Rashmi Ashok May 12 Taiwan stocks slid more than 8% on Wednesday and were headed for their worst day in over 26 years as authorities mulled tighter restrictions to tackle a rise in domestic COVID-19 cases, while other Asian equities fell on concerns over higher inflation. Equities in Taipei tumbled 8.6% and the Taiwan dollar weakened 0.2% as health authorities said they may raise the country's COVID-19 alert level in "coming days". The possible restrictions, which would mean closure of non-essential businesses, came after a cluster of six new cases with no clear infection source was found on Tuesday, an unusual outbreak for the island that has kept a tight lid on community outbreaks. The equity rout prompted the country's deputy finance minister to call for calm, saying the stock market's fundamentals were sound. Taiwan stocks had rallied more than 100% from lows in March last year to end-April, buoyed by strong demand for the country's chips and electronics exports as the work-from-home shift boosted demand for home electronics. Elsewhere, shares in Seoul slipped 1.7%, while Thai equities were off nearly 1%. Regional currencies were also weaker, with export-focused units such as the won , the Singapore dollar and baht losing most. Despite various U.S. Federal Reserve officials reiterating a firmly dovish policy stance, investors worried that higher inflation from a spike in commodity prices could force the Fed to raise interest rates. U.S. inflation data due later in the day also added to nerves. "Markets are calling the Fed's bluff, fearing that the Fed may need to hike rates more quickly and aggressively than expected. Today's U.S. CPI release will be a big focus for more clues," said Mitul Kotecha, chief EM Asia and Europe strategist at TD Securities. "Should the Fed hint at an earlier taper, it would likely put pressure on Asian markets, with a likely firmer dollar weighing on Asian FX and higher U.S. yields pressurising Asian local currency bonds and equities," Kotecha said. While Asian central banks are less sensitive to U.S. rates than previously, inflationary pressures in the region were starting to build, he added. The Philippine market slipped 1.5% to hit its lowest since Oct. 30, 2020. The central bank is slated to announce its monetary policy decision soon, where it is expected to keep interest rates unchanged at a record low. Indonesian markets were closed for the Eid festival. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Taiwan Cement Corp and Asia Cement Corp were among top losers on the Taiwan Stock Index, down over 5% each ** Malaysia's 10-year benchmark yield is up 0.5 basis points at 3.142%​,​ while the 3-year benchmark yield is up 0.1 basis points at 2.061%​​ ** In the Philippines, top index losers are Megaworld Corp , down 4.03%, and SM Prime Holdings Inc, down 3.53% Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0420 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDE STOCKS STOCK DAILY YTD % X DAILY S YTD % % % Japan -0.22 -5.15 <.N2 -1.88 2.29 25> China <CNY=CFX -0.19 +1.36 <.SS -0.01 -0.91 S> EC> India +0.00 -0.37 <.NS -0.72 5.45 EI> Malaysi -0.27 -2.59 <.KL 0.26 -2.80 a SE> Philipp -0.01 +0.34 <.PS -1.53 -12.7 ines I> 4 S.Korea <KRW=KFT -0.44 -3.41 <.KS -1.97 9.49 C> 11> Singapo -0.27 -0.60 <.ST -0.63 9.87 re I> Taiwan -0.17 +1.72 <.TW -4.97 6.97 II> Thailan -0.45 -4.07 <.SE -1.09 7.76 d TI> (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok; editing by Richard Pullin)

EMERGING MARKETS-Taiwan stocks eye worst day since 1994 on COVID-19 risk; Asian markets dip

May 12 2021

* Graphic: World FX rates http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh * Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks https://tmsnrt.rs/3f2vwbA * Taiwan stocks down 8.6%, FX down 0.2% on possible virus curbs * Philippine stocks at lowest since Oct 2020 * Philippine c.bank set to keep rates unchanged at record low * Asian FX, stocks pressured as U.S. inflation views build By Rashmi Ashok May 12 Taiwan stocks slid more than 8% on Wednesday and were headed for their worst day in over 26 years as authorities mulled tighter restrictions to tackle a rise in domestic COVID-19 cases, while other Asian equities fell on concerns over higher inflation. Equities in Taipei tumbled 8.6% and the Taiwan dollar weakened 0.2% as health authorities said they may raise the country's COVID-19 alert level in "coming days". The possible restrictions, which would mean closure of non-essential businesses, came after a cluster of six new cases with no clear infection source was found on Tuesday, an unusual outbreak for the island that has kept a tight lid on community outbreaks. The equity rout prompted the country's deputy finance minister to call for calm, saying the stock market's fundamentals were sound. Taiwan stocks had rallied more than 100% from lows in March last year to end-April, buoyed by strong demand for the country's chips and electronics exports as the work-from-home shift boosted demand for home electronics. Elsewhere, shares in Seoul slipped 1.7%, while Thai equities were off nearly 1%. Regional currencies were also weaker, with export-focused units such as the won , the Singapore dollar and baht losing most. Despite various U.S. Federal Reserve officials reiterating a firmly dovish policy stance, investors worried that higher inflation from a spike in commodity prices could force the Fed to raise interest rates. U.S. inflation data due later in the day also added to nerves. "Markets are calling the Fed's bluff, fearing that the Fed may need to hike rates more quickly and aggressively than expected. Today's U.S. CPI release will be a big focus for more clues," said Mitul Kotecha, chief EM Asia and Europe strategist at TD Securities. "Should the Fed hint at an earlier taper, it would likely put pressure on Asian markets, with a likely firmer dollar weighing on Asian FX and higher U.S. yields pressurising Asian local currency bonds and equities," Kotecha said. While Asian central banks are less sensitive to U.S. rates than previously, inflationary pressures in the region were starting to build, he added. The Philippine market slipped 1.5% to hit its lowest since Oct. 30, 2020. The central bank is slated to announce its monetary policy decision soon, where it is expected to keep interest rates unchanged at a record low. Indonesian markets were closed for the Eid festival. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Taiwan Cement Corp and Asia Cement Corp were among top losers on the Taiwan Stock Index, down over 5% each ** Malaysia's 10-year benchmark yield is up 0.5 basis points at 3.142%​,​ while the 3-year benchmark yield is up 0.1 basis points at 2.061%​​ ** In the Philippines, top index losers are Megaworld Corp , down 4.03%, and SM Prime Holdings Inc, down 3.53% Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0420 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDE STOCKS STOCK DAILY YTD % X DAILY S YTD % % % Japan -0.22 -5.15 <.N2 -1.88 2.29 25> China <CNY=CFX -0.19 +1.36 <.SS -0.01 -0.91 S> EC> India +0.00 -0.37 <.NS -0.72 5.45 EI> Malaysi -0.27 -2.59 <.KL 0.26 -2.80 a SE> Philipp -0.01 +0.34 <.PS -1.53 -12.7 ines I> 4 S.Korea <KRW=KFT -0.44 -3.41 <.KS -1.97 9.49 C> 11> Singapo -0.27 -0.60 <.ST -0.63 9.87 re I> Taiwan -0.17 +1.72 <.TW -4.97 6.97 II> Thailan -0.45 -4.07 <.SE -1.09 7.76 d TI> (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok; editing by Richard Pullin)

EMERGING MARKETS-Taiwan stocks lead losses in Asia on inflation fears, virus curbs

May 11 2021

* Graphic: World FX rates http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh * Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks https://tmsnrt.rs/3f2vwbA * Taiwan stocks post biggest drop since March 19, 2020 * Taiwan dollar retreats from a near 24-year high * Virus-led curbs in Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia weigh By Rashmi Ashok May 11 Tech-heavy equities in Taiwan and South Korea led losses in Asian markets on Tuesday, as investors were concerned over a potential spike in inflation, while rising COVID-19 cases and curbs in other parts of the region further dampened sentiment. U.S. stocks toppled off record highs overnight as traders fretted that strong demand amid tight supply of basic materials could sharply accelerate consumer prices, with markets now on edge ahead of U.S. inflation data due later on Wednesday. A spike in inflation could force the U.S. Federal Reserve to raise interest rates sooner than planned, which could put Asia's central banks in a tough spot, as a resurgence in COVID-19 cases and lockdowns make it more difficult for lenders to play catch-up. Shares in Taipei ended 3.8% lower in their worst session since March 19, 2020, as heavyweight chipmakers fell. The Taiwan dollar, heavily reliant on exports, weakened 0.4% to pull back from a near 24-year high scaled in the previous session. Equities in Seoul closed 1.2% lower, with the won weakened 0.5%. In other parts of Asia, raging COVID-19 outbreaks continued to drag on markets, outweighing economic prints showing signs of recovery in the first quarter. "A large portion of the ASEAN recovery rests on how the next two weeks play out across the region with the COVID-19," said Jeffrey Halley, market analyst at OANDA, noting various forms of restrictions implemented across the region. Malaysia's stocks were off 0.7% and the ringgit weakened 0.2%, after the country imposed a new nationwide lockdown to halt a third wave of infections, which is putting a strain on its healthcare system. Data showed its economy contracted by a smaller-than-expected margin in the first quarter, supported by exports. In Philippines, where partial lockdown measures were tightened last month, authorities detected its first two cases of a coronavirus variant initially identified in India, which some preliminary studies have shown spreads more easily. Data showed Philippines' gross domestic product fell a larger-than-expected 4.2% in the March quarter, though sequential output figures showed a recovery was underway. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas will hold a monetary policy meeting on Wednesday, where it is largely expected to keep rates unchanged at record lows, with comments on the impact of the latest curbs keenly watched. Indonesia recently recorded cases of the variant first detected in India, leading to a ban on the traditional mass exodus where people visit relatives for the Eid al-Fitr festival. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Top losers on FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kl Index include Genting Malaysia down 3.17% and Genting down 2.04% ** Top losers on the Jakarta stock index include Pt Dms Propertindo Tbk and Perdana Bangun Pusaka Tbk PT , both down 6.99% ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are up 2.5 basis points at 6.429%​​ while 3-year benchmark yields are up 0.1 basis points at 5.023% Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0738 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDE STOCKS STOCK DAILY YTD % X DAILY S YTD % % % Japan -0.11 -5.20 <.N2 -3.08 4.24 25> China <CNY=CFX -0.19 +1.56 <.SS 0.40 -0.90 S> EC> India -0.09 -0.48 <.NS -0.58 6.25 EI> Indones -0.07 -1.16 <.JK -0.93 -0.98 ia SE> Malaysi -0.24 -2.31 <.KL -0.60 -3.24 a SE> Philipp -0.02 +0.37 <.PS 0.15 -11.3 ines I> 9 S.Korea <KRW=KFT -0.52 -2.98 <.KS -1.23 11.69 C> 11> Singapo -0.13 -0.47 <.ST -0.91 10.89 re I> Taiwan -0.44 +1.95 <.TW -3.79 12.56 II> Thailan -0.03 -3.60 <.SE -0.70 8.81 d TI> (Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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