EMERGING MARKETS-Philippine shares lag as vaccine view lifts Asia

Credit: REUTERS/ROMEO RANOCO

The Philippines trailed gains for Asia's emerging stock and currency markets on Tuesday, as a surge in local coronavirus cases gnawed at investor sentiment while others cheered promising data for potential COVID-19 vaccines.

By Shashwat Awasthi

July 21 (Reuters) - The Philippines trailed gains for Asia's emerging stock and currency markets on Tuesday, as a surge in local coronavirus cases gnawed at investor sentiment while others cheered promising data for potential COVID-19 vaccines.

Thai and Indonesian stocks .SETI, .JKSE rebounded more than 1% each after Monday's drop, as early prints from vaccine trials and a "historic" European Union stimulus deal offset the impact of political uncertainty in Bangkok and rising infections.

Manila's benchmark share index .PSI, down by a fifth this year, fell another 0.9% after the country reported more than a thousand new coronavirus cases for a fifth straight day. The peso PHP= dipped 0.2%.

"The market is still weak despite the government's announcement today that it is not keen on imposing stricter quarantine measures in the capital and upbeat sentiment from vaccine prospects and stimulus across Asia," said Jennifer Mae V. Lomboy, a fixed income fund manager at First Metro Asset Management.

Investors were likely to remain on the sidelines ahead of next Monday's State of the Nation address by President Rodrigo Duterte, she said.

With the improvement in global sentiment leading investors away from the U.S. dollar, Taiwan's dollar TWD=TP and South Korea's won KRW=KFTC outshone peers, while their respective share markets .TWII, .KS11 climbed 1.8% and 1.4%.

Jeffrey Halley, an analyst at trading platform OANDA, said currencies like Singapore's dollar SGD=, the Thai baht THB=, Indonesia's rupiah IDR= and the Malaysian ringgit MYR= could outperform the greenback over a period of time if bullish sentiment holds out.

"Positive news on the COVID-19 vaccine front and eurozone pandemic recovery fund progress awoke currency markets from their recent slumber," he said.

Stocks in Singapore .STI rose half a percent after three straight sessions of losses.

In Thailand, Labour Minister Chatumongol Sonakul on Monday became the sixth minister to quit Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha's government since last week.

Maybank analysts warned the political re-shuffle and ongoing protests against the government and the army may continue to drag on the baht, and suggested a recovery may be constrained for now.

The currency, however, snapped a three-day losing streak to rise 0.4%.

The upheaval comes at a time when Southeast Asia's second-biggest economy is struggling to get its huge tourism sector going again, prompting business leaders and investors to urge the government to pick a new economic team as soon as possible.

HIGHLIGHTS:

** Indonesian 3-year benchmark yields are down 3.9 basis points at 5.923%

** Top gainers on the Thailand's SETI .SETI include Max Metal Corporation MAX.BK up 100%, Thai Film Industries TFI.BK up 20% and TWZ Corporation TWZ.BK up​ 16.67%

** Top gainers on the Jakarta stock index .JKSE include Indofarma Tbk INAF.JK up 24.9%, Kimia Farma Tbk KAEF.JK up 24.73% and Millennium Pharmacon International Tbk SDPC.JK up ​16.28%

Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0706 GMT

COUNTRY

FX RIC

FX DAILY %

FX YTD %

INDEX

STOCKS DAILY %

STOCKS YTD %

Japan

JPY=

-0.07

+1.21

.N225

0.73

-3.27

China

CNY=CFXS

+0.01

-0.39

.SSEC

0.13

8.80

India

INR=IN

-0.11

-4.60

.NSEI

1.20

-8.33

Indonesia

IDR=

+0.14

-5.51

.JKSE

1.44

-18.66

Malaysia

MYR=

+0.05

-4.01

.KLSE

0.40

0.44

Philippines

PHP=

-0.14

+2.59

.PSI

-0.23

-21.48

S.Korea

KRW=KFTC

+0.45

-3.46

.KS11

1.39

1.42

Singapore

SGD=

-0.08

-3.27

.STI

0.53

-18.39

Taiwan

TWD=TP

+0.37

+2.20

.TWII

1.83

3.34

Thailand

THB=TH

+0.35

-5.59

.SETI

0.90

-13.25

(Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi and Pranav A K in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

((Shashwat.Awasthi@thomsonreuters.com; +91 80 61822606;))

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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