By Indranil Sarkar
April 25 (Reuters) - Indonesia's rupiah fell to an eight-month low on Monday and led losses among major Southeast Asian currencies after the country on Friday unexpectedly announced a ban on exports of palm oil, a major trade item.
The rupiah IDR= weakened 0.7%, on track for its steepest drop since August 2021. The country's benchmark stock market index .JKSE pared early losses to be down 0.1%, weighed down by some of Indonesia's top palm oil companies.
Indonesia's ban on palm oil exports, which will take effect on April 28, surprised the global edible oils market.
The country's exports of palm oil and its derivatives are usually worth $3 billion a month, according to estimates by some analysts.
"The ban will likely push up global food costs and will last until the ... government deems domestic supply as stable," analysts at ING wrote.
Shares of companies focused on palm oil in rival exporter Malaysia jumped as futures for the product FCPOc3 rose to their highest since early March.
However, share price gains on a handful of such companies were not enough to stop a 0.6% fall in the country's benchmark index .KLSE.
Indian stocks .NSEI fell by 1% as prospects of aggressive interest rate rises by the U.S. Federal Reserve hit investors' appetite for risky assets.
Elsewhere, Singapore stocks .STI were down by 0.2% after the country's key gauge of consumer prices rose in March by its fastest pace in a decade, driven particularly by food and services prices.
Shares in Taiwan .TWII dropped more than 2%, to their lowest level since October last year, as the island saw a rise in COVID-19 cases.
"Although the authorities are trying to shorten isolation periods, this should still impact retail sales, manufacturing and exports. This could put extra pressure on the semiconductor supply chain." ING analysts said.
The country is also due to disclose its March industrial production data later in the day.
South Korean shares .KS11 fell steeply, broadly tracking a Friday slump on Wall Street caused by surprise earnings news and increased certainty around aggressive near-term interest rate rises.
** Indonesia's Astra Agro Lestari AALI.JK and Triputra Agro Persada TAPG.JK suffer losses of more than 6%
** Salim Ivomas Pratama SIMP.JK and Sinar Mas Agro Resources and Technology SMAR.JK also drop
** Malaysian palm oil companies FGV Holdings FGVH.KL, Sime Darby Plantation SIPL.KL, and IOI Corp IOIB.KL rise
Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0517 GMT
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Graphic: World FX rates https://tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E
Asian stock marketshttps://tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4
(Reporting by Indranil Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Bradley Perrett)
((Indranil.Sarkar@thomsonreuters.com; Mobile: +91 7022132226;))
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