EMERGING MARKETS-Most Asian shares fall after weak China data; Philippine stocks jump 3%
By Sameer Manekar
Aug 16 (Reuters) - Most Asian emerging equities fell on Monday, with Indonesia and Thailand leading the declines, as a slew of weak Chinese data and surging new cases of COVID-19 weighed on markets, while the Philippine index jumped more than 3%.
The Indonesian benchmark index .JKSE fell as much as 1.3%, even as the country proposed a $188.30 billion budget for 2022, while Thai shares .SETI hit their lowest since mid-May as spiking infections eclipsed better-than-expected economic growth in June quarter.
The region's top trading partner China recorded slow growth in both factory output and retail sales in July as export growth cooled and new COVID-19 outbreaks disrupted business, causing yuan CNY=CFXS to lose initial gains and slip marginally. CNY/
"From a broader market perspective, the data will likely contribute to a near-term tone of risk aversion afflicting sentiment amid worsening Delta variant concerns, rising growth worries and geopolitical risks," Mitul Kotecha, chief EM Asia and Europe strategist at TD Securities said.
The weak data raises the chances of more reserve requirement ratio cuts in the weeks ahead and points to growing risks of a marginal cut in the loan prime rate by year-end, Kotecha said.
Among emerging currencies, Malaysian ringgit fell to a one-year low as the resignation of its cabinet led by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin clouded sentiment and pushed the country into political uncertainty at a time when it grapples with higher cases and an economic downturn.
The ringgit MYR= last traded at 4.2395 per dollar by 0525 GMT, after slipping to 4.2415 earlier in the day - its lowest since July 2020. Shares in Kuala Lumpur .KLSE were down as much as 0.7%, their worst intraday drop in nearly two weeks.
"Uncertainty on who takes over the leadership will weigh on sentiment in the interim, but this could turn around if there is a quick agreement on who will be appointed," analysts at Maybank said, adding that they expect ringgit to ease off to between 4.220 and 4.240.
Elsewhere, the Philippine peso PHP= strengthened slightly and the bourse .PSI soared as much as 3.1% to mark its best intraday performance since June 2.
The Philippines has been reeling under the pressure of rising new infections and consequent movement restrictions, hitting investor sentiment. So far in the quarter, shares are down 6% while peso has weakened 3.4%.
India's Nifty 50 .NSEI added 0.3% to hit a record high after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday announced a $1.35 trillion national infrastructure plan to generate jobs and shore up the economy. .BO
Meanwhile, developments from Afghanistan and the possible geopolitical implications following the collapse of its government are also being watched by global investors.
Markets in South Korea .KS11, KRW=KFTC were closed for a public holiday.
** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields fall 3.2 basis points to 6.347%
** Singapore dollar SGD= softens as much as 0.2%, equities .STI down 0.4%
** Indonesia c.bank seen holding rates - Reuters poll
Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0628 GMT
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MYR MYR falls to one-year lowhttps://tmsnrt.rs/3xNeEhR
(Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)
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