EMERGING MARKETS-Malaysian stocks, ringgit slip as calls for PM to resign grow

Credit: REUTERS/THOMAS WHITE

Malaysian stocks slipped on Monday as the Southeast Asian nation's prime minister faced political uncertainty after his request to declare a state of emergency was rejected by the king, with other markets in the region also trading lower.

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

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

Malaysian ringgit at near four-week low

Thai stocks subdued as protests continue

Oct 26 (Reuters) - Malaysian stocks slipped on Monday as the Southeast Asian nation's prime minister faced political uncertainty after his request to declare a state of emergency was rejected by the king, with other markets in the region also trading lower.

Broader Asian stock markets dropped after a surge in COVID-19 cases in the United States and Europe rattled hopes of a global economic recovery, building on uncertainty posed by the looming U.S. presidential election.

Doubts swirled over the support Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin commands, particularly after the king's rejection.

Yassin is facing a leadership challenge from an opposition leader and infighting within his ruling coalition, and critics have accused him of using the request for emergency rule as a pretext to suspend parliament and avoid a test of his razor-thin parliamentary majority.

By midday, the Malaysian benchmark stock index .KLSE was down 0.7% and the ringgit MYR= was perched at a four-week low, down 0.2% at 4.164 against the dollar.

"Struggling to recover from the pandemic-triggered recession right on the heels of weathering U.S.-China trade war ripples, the last thing ASEAN economies need is a political crisis," analysts at Mizuho said, referring to the political situation in Malaysia and Thailand.

Thailand's biggest opposition party called on Monday for Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha to resign, as the parliament opened a special session called by the former junta leader to discuss months of protests.

Thai equities .SETI pulled back slightly to 1,213 after see-sawing for most of the session and the baht THB=TH traded slightly lower.

Analysts at Phillip Securities noted that the focus remained on the special parliamentary session, with the Thai equity market set to hover between 1,200 and 1,220 until the crisis was resolved.

Taiwan's dollar TWD=TP was among the most sought-after currencies in the session, gaining more than 1.1% to touch a two-week high.

The currency is the region's top performer so far this year with a 5.2% gain, as the work-from-home shift fuelled demand for the country's key chip and semiconductor exports, offering a buffer to the economic blow from the pandemic.

Data showing a surge in Singapore's factory output in September failed to offset the subdued broader mood, with shares .STI barely budging on the numbers. The stock index fell 0.3% and the Singapore dollar SGD= also slightly weakened.

HIGHLIGHTS

** Top gainers on the Jakarta stock index .JKSE include Sky Energy Indonesia Tbk PT JSKY.JK, up 24.14%, and Provident Agro Tbk PT PALM.JK, up 22.58%.

** Top losers on Thailand's SETI .SETI include AEC Securities PCL AEC.BK, down 16.67%, and Thailand Hospitality Property Fund TLHPFu.BK, down 7.3%.

** Singapore's 10-year benchmark yield was down 2.3 basis points at 0.826%​​, while the 5-year benchmark yield traded 1.8 basis points lower at 0.451%​​.

Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0659 GMT

COUNTRY

FX RIC

FX DAILY %

FX YTD %

INDEX

STOCKS DAILY %

STOCKS YTD %

Japan

JPY=

-0.21

+3.53

.N225

-0.09

-0.69

China

CNY=CFXS

+0.01

+4.15

.SSEC

-0.87

6.54

India

INR=IN

-0.16

-3.20

.NSEI

-0.91

-2.85

Indonesia

IDR=

+0.00

-5.26

.JKSE

0.76

-18.23

Malaysia

MYR=

-0.19

-1.78

.KLSE

-0.64

-6.53

Philippines

PHP=

+0.05

+4.70

.PSI

0.11

-16.94

S.Korea

KRW=KFTC

+0.46

+2.55

.KS11

-0.72

6.65

Singapore

SGD=

-0.13

-1.08

.STI

-0.34

-21.54

Taiwan

TWD=TP

+1.09

+5.24

.TWII

0.08

7.60

Thailand

THB=TH

-0.06

-4.41

.SETI

-0.04

-23.21

(Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

((Rashmi.Ashok@thomsonreuters.com; +918061822604;))

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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