EMERGING MARKETS-Thai baht, shares hit by virus surge as cenbank holds rates

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
EMERGING MARKETS-Thai baht, shares hit by virus surge as cenbank holds rates

* Graphic: World FX rates https://tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E

* Thai baht to remain subdued for coming months - analyst

* India cenbank announces support measures

* Singapore shares slump for fourth day

By Anushka Trivedi

May 5 (Reuters) - Thai equities and the baht weakened on Wednesday as investors caught up with the grim news of a resurgence in COVID-19 infections in the country shortly after it resumed trade, while its central bank stood pat on interest rates.

In a data-heavy day for Asia, most currencies traded flat to lower against the U.S. dollar, while equities in the Philippines .PSI and Singapore .STI slid around 1% each.

The baht THB=TH weakened and stocks .SETI tumbled almost 2% to mark their worst day in three months as the economy battled fresh COVID-19 infections, dampening hopes of a recovery in trade and tourism. Bank of Thailand (BoT) left interest rates at a record low of 0.50%, as expected, citing limited policy room in the face of the latest COVID-19 wave and warned that fiscal 2021 growth could come in lower than forecast. widely predict no change to rates for the rest of the year, but expect the central bank to provide fiscal support measures such as buying government bonds and soft loans, although BoT did not mention any.

"The Thai baht remains weighed down by the country's continued struggles with the COVID-19," Han Tan, market analyst at FXTM said.

The baht, Asia's worst performing currency this year, will likely remain subdued in the interim, considering the pressure to Thailand's current account from a disruption to trade, he added.

Financials lifted India stocks .NSEI as central bank governor Shaktikanta Das, in an unscheduled address, said the Reserve Bank of India had asked lenders to provide fresh debt moratoriums to some small borrowers. move would help businesses hit hard by the new round of lockdowns over the past month as India remains engulfed by a debilitating wave of COVID-19 infections.

Singapore shares .STI lost 1%, slumping for a fourth day as the city-state's COVID-19 crisis escalated on recording locally acquired cases of coronavirus variants, which led to tighter curbs. markets in South Korea, China and Japan were shut due to a holiday. HIGHLIGHTS

** Foreigners turned net buyers of Asian equities in April for the first time this year Singapore's Straits Times Index has shed 2.2% so far this week

** India's coronavirus deaths rose by a record 3,780 during the last 24 hours

Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0740 GMT

COUNTRY

FX RIC

FX DAILY

FX YTD %

INDEX STOCKS DAILY % STOCKS YTD %

%

Japan

JPY=

-0.10

-5.67 .N225

--

4.99 India

INR=IN

-0.22

-1.28 .NSEI

0.70

4.41 Indonesia

IDR=

-0.10

-2.77 .JKSE

0.25

0.00 Malaysia

MYR=

+0.00

-2.43 .KLSE

-0.40

-2.78 Philippines PHP=

-0.17

-0.15 .PSI

-0.94

-11.77 Singapore

SGD=

-0.18

-1.31 .STI

-1.01

10.66 Taiwan

TWD=TP

-0.02

+1.88 .TWII

-0.53

14.33 Thailand

THB=TH

-0.13

-3.91 .SETI

-1.50

7.59

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