EMERGING MARKETS-Asia's currencies find respite in retreating U.S. yields

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
EMERGING MARKETS-Asia's currencies find respite in retreating U.S. yields
Credit: © Reuters.

* India shares extend losses as COVID-19 cases spike

* Philippine March inflation eases for the first time in 6-months

* Fed minutes for March meeting expected on Wednesday

* RBI meeting on Wednesday

By Nikhil Nainan

April 6 (Reuters) - Asia's emerging currencies found some respite on Tuesday as the dollar dipped to a near two-week low and U.S. bond yields retreated, with Malaysia's ringgit and South Korea's won leading gains in the region.

Stock markets were more mixed, with shares in Taiwan .TWII rising 1% following a market holiday on Monday, while in Malaysia .KLSE and Singapore .STI shares were down less than half a percent.

The dollar's losses come even as data showed a gauge of U.S. services activity hit a record high in March, and Friday's bumper jobs report, opening a cautious door to questions as to how much further the greenback and U.S. yields can go. the market was caught wrong-footed at the start of the year, it is not as convincing to argue that dollar rates are now overly low," Eugene Leow, a DBS rates strategist said in a note.

"We are wary of frontloading Fed hikes; the Fed is unlikely to hike before 2023, in our view," Leow added.

The dollar has risen sharply so far this year, enjoying its best quarter in nearly three years, as the U.S. economy outperforms the world thanks to ultra-loose monetary policy, large fiscal packages and an aggressive vaccination campaign.

All that has helped raise the yield on 10-year Treasuries US10YT=RR to pre-pandemic levels, sapping appetite for Asia's risk-sensitive assets and raising questions whether the Federal Reserve can stick to its pledge to keep interest rates steady through 2023.

On Wednesday, the Fed will release minutes of its March meeting, though will not include recent strong data points. shares .NSEI opened lower on Tuesday, extending Monday's sharp decline after the country breached the grim milestone of 100,000 daily infections. Indian state leaders have asked the prime minister to open up vaccinations to most of the country's hundreds of millions of adults given the spike in infections and as fresh restrictions go into force in parts.

The Reserve Bank of India will end its policy meeting on Wednesday, where the focus will be on commentary as rates are expected to remain unchanged.

"We think the RBI will be open-ended on its accommodative stance, with comments highlighting that it will be maintained until recovery can be self-sustaining," TD Securities said in a client note.

"Anything more hawkish could hurt the bond market at a fragile time."

In the Philippines, dealing with its own COVID-19 spike, shares .PSI were up half a percent and the peso PHP= flat.

Inflation eased for the first time in six months in March, though it remained above the central bank's target range for the year. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor said current monetary policy settings remained appropriate. markets were closed for a public holiday.

HIGHLIGHTS:

** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields rose 4.3 basis points to 6.661%

** In the Philippines, Universal Robina Corp URC.PS and Jollibee Foods Corp JFC.PS led gains

Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0406 GMT COUNTRY

FX RIC

FX

FX

INDEX

STOCKS STOCKS

DAILY % YTD %

DAILY % YTD % Japan

JPY=

-0.15

-6.43 .N225 -1.11

8.42 China

CNY=CFXS +0.19

-0.41 .SSEC -0.32

0.01 India

INR=IN

0.00

-0.31 .NSEI -0.30

4.37 Indonesia

IDR=

+0.03

-3.21 .JKSE 0.37

0.22 Malaysia

MYR=

+0.24

-2.66 .KLSE -0.34

-2.97 Philippines

PHP=

+0.02

-1.13 .PSI

0.49

-8.58 S.Korea

KRW=KFTC +0.29

-3.40 .KS11 0.02

8.63 Singapore

SGD=

+0.05

-1.48 .STI

-0.37

12.45 Taiwan

TWD=TP

+0.15

-0.02 .TWII 0.95

13.55 Thailand

THB=TH

-

-4.56 .SETI -

8.99

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