EMERGING MARKETS-Asian stocks, currencies slip on renewed spike in COVID-19 cases

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
EMERGING MARKETS-Asian stocks, currencies slip on renewed spike in COVID-19 cases
Credit: © Reuters.

* Asian currencies weaker as dollar firms on safe-haven flows

* Singapore stocks eye worst session in nearly 2 months

* South Korea stocks on track for worst session since March 9

By Harish Sridharan

April 21 (Reuters) - Asian stocks and currencies fell on Wednesday as renewed concerns over spiking coronavirus cases in India and elsewhere in the world rekindled doubts about the speed and strength of a global economic recovery.

Equity markets in export-focused countries such as Singapore .STI and South Korea .KS11 took the biggest hit in the region as riskier assets came under pressure globally.

The dollar =USD benefited from safe-haven demand overnight, weighing on most Asian currencies, while a negative lead from Wall Street didn't help either, with streaming services giant Netflix NFLX.O tumbling after an underwhelming earnings update.

"Market players seem caught between a rock and a hard place where global infection levels, most notably India's, remain high but companies that benefitted from the pandemic seem to be at an inflexion point," analysts at Maybank wrote in a note.

India reported its worst daily death toll on Tuesday, as the the world's second most populous country's stretched healthcare system struggles to cope with the pandemic's sweeping impact. currency and equity markets, which were shut for a local holiday, could be in for a torrid reception when they re-open on Thursday.

Singapore stocks were on course to mark their worst day in nearly two months, while South Korean shares fell as much as 1.7% and looked set for their weakest session in six weeks.

South Korea data earlier in the day showed the country's exports during the first 20 days of April jumped 45.4% from a year earlier, but that did little to lift sentiment in the face of an uncertain global trade outlook.

The won KRW=KFTC fell 0.6% to 1,119.1 per dollar, on track for its worst daily performance in nearly five weeks.

The Indonesian rupiah IDR= was off 0.3% even as country's central bank stood pat on interest rates on Tuesday and signaled its commitment to stem further depreciation of the currency. Thai baht THB=TH slipped 0.2% to 31.340 per dollar, a more than one-week low.

Analysts at DBS said that the currency is expected to hold between 31.0 and 31.5 and that record number of coronavirus infections will weigh on the economy and currency of the tourism-reliant country.

In Russia, the rouble and Russian stock indexes declined on Tuesday as a military buildup near Ukraine raised international concerns. Top loser on the Singapore STI .STI was Keppel Corporation Ltd KPLM.SI , down 2.94%

** Among the heavyweights in South Korea, technology giant Samsung Electronics 005930.KS fell 1.55%

** Axiata Group Bhd AXIA.KL fell 3.25% and was the top losers on FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kl Index .KLSE

Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0421 GMT

COUNTRY

FX RIC

FX DAILY % FX YTD % INDE STOCKS STOCK

X DAILY S YTD

%

% Japan

JPY=

+0.04

-4.44 <.N2 -2.06 3.85

25>

China

CNY=CFXS

+0.02

+0.44 <.SS

0.15 0.14

EC>

Indonesia

IDR=

-0.24

-3.37 <.JK -0.56 0.43

SE>

Malaysia

MYR=

+0.00

-2.26 <.KL -0.39 -1.59

SE>

Philippines PHP=

-0.03

-0.78 <.PS -0.29 -9.22

I>

S.Korea

KRW=KFTC

-0.47

-2.80 <.KS -1.63 10.26

11>

Singapore

SGD=

-0.04

-0.63 <.ST -1.26 10.83

I>

Taiwan

TWD=TP

+0.22

+1.45 <.TW -0.42 17.10

II>

Thailand

THB=TH

-0.10

-4.28 <.SE -0.08 8.93

TI>

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