EMERGING MARKETS-Asian markets falter, politics hit ringgit

Credit: REUTERS/Edgar Su

Malaysia's ringgit fell for a fourth session on Thursday as investors moved to price in the latest bout of political uncertainty following opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's claim that he had a majority to oust the current government.

By Anushka Trivedi

Sept 24 (Reuters) - Malaysia's ringgit fell for a fourth session on Thursday as investors moved to price in the latest bout of political uncertainty following opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's claim that he had a majority to oust the current government.

In Asian stock markets doubts about how the world economy will stagger back to recovery spurred a 1.5% fall in Chinese shares .SSEC, unsettling other markets in the region, with Indonesia .JKSE, South Korea .KS11 and Taiwan .TWII stocks all down 1% to 2%.

The dip in confidence turned investors away from riskier assets and the won KRW=KFTC and the Thai baht THB=TH both eased by around half a percent against the dollar.

The ringgit MYR= weakened by 0.26% bringing its decline for the week so far to 1.2%, its worst performance since April, though it has fared better than a number of its peers in this year's coronavirus turmoil.

The power struggle in Malaysia, and possibility of an early election raised fears of a delay to any further stimulus package to bolster the economy during the coronavirus crisis.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, whose seven-month old coalition has survived with a wafer-thin majority, unveiled an additional economic stimulus package worth 10 billion ringgit ($2.40 billion) on Wednesday.

"Political uncertainty is a near-term risk for implementation of those (stimulus) policies or projects and hence the speed of economic recovery," analysts at China based trading firm CGS-CIMB said in a note.

Thailand's baht was also weaker for a fourth day, hitting a one-month low after an uneventful central bank meeting where rates were held steady and no stimulus was announced for a country in dire need for fiscal support.

The bank slightly upgraded its 2020 gross domestic product (GDP) target, but analysts said a recovery in Thai trade and tourism seemed a long way off in the COVID-19 pandemic.

"In coming months the Bank of Thailand will have to deliver more support to the economy, and could potentially move towards quantitative easing," Sid Mathur, Head of EM Research APAC at BNP Paribas said.

Singaporean shares .STI tumbled, with export-oriented stocks leading losses.

HIGHLIGHTS

** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields ID10YT=RR are up 2.4 basis points at 6.929%

** Singapore-listed Jardine Matheson Holdings JARD.SI and Jardine Strategic Holdings JSH.SI among top drags as they fall over 3%

** Top losers on the Jakarta stock index .JKSE include NFC Indonesia Tbk PT NFCX.JK down 6.94% and Sekar Bumi Tbk PT SKBM.JK down 6.92%

Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0359 GMT

COUNTRY

FX RIC

FX DAILY %

FX YTD %

INDEX

STOCKS DAILY %

STOCKS YTD %

Japan

JPY=

-0.05

+3.03

.N225

-0.65

-1.95

China

CNY=CFXS

-0.12

+2.14

.SSEC

-1.46

5.96

India

INR=IN

+0.00

-2.98

.NSEI

-1.09

-9.51

Indonesia

IDR=

-0.24

-6.31

.JKSE

-1.67

-23.23

Malaysia

MYR=

-0.26

-1.78

.KLSE

0.31

-5.52

Philippines

PHP=

+0.19

+4.45

.PSI

-0.53

-25.00

S.Korea

KRW=KFTC

-0.50

-1.19

.KS11

-2.01

4.04

Singapore

SGD=

-0.10

-2.18

.STI

-1.15

-23.90

Taiwan

TWD=TP

+0.04

+3.09

.TWII

-2.46

2.31

Thailand

THB=TH

-0.38

-5.32

.SETI

-0.69

-20.55

($1 = 4.1640 ringgit)

(Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; Editing by Patrick Graham & Simon Cameron-Moore)

((Anushka.Trivedi@thomsonreuters.com; +918061823241;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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