EMERGING MARKETS-Singapore, Thai stocks cheer less-than-feared Q4 economic contraction

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
EMERGING MARKETS-Singapore, Thai stocks cheer less-than-feared Q4 economic contraction
Credit: © Reuters.

* Graphic: World FX rates http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

* Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks https://tmsnrt.rs/3lKhL5I

* S. Korea stocks hit highest since Jan. 27

* China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, U.S. markets shut

By Shashwat Awasthi

Feb 15 (Reuters) - Thailand stocks were on track for their best day in more than a month on Monday and Singapore shares jumped after the Southeast Asian economies contracted less than expected in the final quarter of 2020.

Across Asia, share markets began a data-heavy week on a firm footing amid optimism the rollout of coronavirus vaccines globally will speed up economic recovery. MKTS/GLOB

Thailand's SETI index .SETI jumped 1.3%, the most since Jan. 8. The baht THB=TH traded flat as the country trimmed its growth outlook for 2021. tourism-reliant nation was hit hard last year as the pandemic led to international travel restrictions and a COVID-19 outbreak in December has dealt a further blow to prospects for a speedy recovery.

Thailand's fourth-quarter GDP data could indicate the "worst is over", but Monday's jump in stocks is also partly down to steep, single-stock moves, said Poon Panichpibool, a market strategist at Krung Thai Bank.

"I think the market just follows hype on some stocks like PTT Oil and Retail Business... or Delta Electronics which benefits from up-cycle in semiconductor/IC sectors," Panichpibool said.

PTT Oil and Retail Business OR.BK , which soared almost 50% in its market debut last week, was up almost 20%. Shares of Delta DELTA.BK surged 19%.

Despite a lower 2021 growth forecast, Panichpibool said he does not expect the Bank of Thailand to cut record low interest rates further in the near term.

Stocks in Singapore .STI jumped as much as 0.7% and the dollar SGD= firmed after the city-state too reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter GDP. were also looking ahead to Singapore's 2021 budget, due on Tuesday, for guidance on fiscal policy.

"Domestic policy concerns pertaining to an uneven and protracted recovery trajectory will likely feature prominently in the budget announcement tomorrow," said Selena Ling, head of research and strategy at OCBC Bank.

South Korea's KOSPI .KS11 scaled a near three-week high and the won KRW=KFTC gained for the fourth straight day after the country's exports during the first 10 days of February surged 69.1% from a year earlier. in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan were closed for the Lunar New Year holiday. U.S. stock markets will be closed on Monday for the Presidents Day holiday.

HIGHLIGHTS:

** Thailand's 10-year government bond yields are up 7 basis points at 1.38%

** Top gainers on Thailand's SETI include Max Metal Corporation MAX.BK up 100%, Muramoto Electron Thailand METCO.BK up 29.66% and Far East Fame Line DDB FE.BK up 28.11%

** In the Philippines, top index losers are Alliance Global Group AGI.PS down 3.67%, Ayala Corp AC.PS down 2.43% and International Container Terminal Services ICT.PS down 2.24%

Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0722 GMT

COUNTRY

FX RIC

FX DAILY %

FX YTD %

INDEX STOCKS DAILY % STOCKS YTD %

Japan

JPY=

-0.16

-1.77

.N225

1.91

9.62

China

CNY=CFXS

0.00

+1.09

.SSEC

0.00

5.24

India

INR=IN

+0.20

+0.63

.NSEI

0.95

9.48 Indonesia

IDR=

+0.43

+0.93

.JKSE

0.73

4.83 Malaysia

MYR=

+0.14

-0.37

.KLSE

0.84

-0.89 Philippines

PHP=

+0.27

+0.21

.PSI

-0.45

-2.53

S.Korea

KRW=KFTC

+0.51

-1.38

.KS11

1.50

9.52 Singapore

SGD=

+0.09

-0.19

.STI

0.27

3.15

Taiwan

TWD=TP

0.00

+0.33

.TWII

0.00

7.26 Thailand

THB=TH

-0.03

+0.30

.SETI

1.34

5.46

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