EMERGING MARKETS-Thai baht, shares fall ahead of BoT review; Indian stocks firm

Credit: REUTERS/THOMAS WHITE

The Thai baht eased while shares tumbled almost 2% ahead of the central bank's policy review on Wednesday, while Indian equities jumped as the country's central bank announced measures for lenders and small businesses amid a devastating COVID-19 wave.

By Anushka Trivedi

May 5 (Reuters) - The Thai baht eased while shares tumbled almost 2% ahead of the central bank's policy review on Wednesday, while Indian equities jumped as the country's central bank announced measures for lenders and small businesses amid a devastating COVID-19 wave.

In a data-packed day for Asia, most currencies traded flat to higher against the U.S. dollar, while Philippines .PSI and Singapore shares .STI slid and Taiwan's .TWII were up 0.5%.

Trading volumes were thin due to holidays in major finance hubs China and Japan.

The baht THB=TH fell 0.2% and shares .SETI declined to their worst day in three-months on resuming trade after holidays this week as the trade-and-tourism-reliant economy battles a deadly wave of COVID-19 infections.

The Bank of Thailand (BoT) is expected to leave its key rate at a record low of 0.50%, with analysts widely forecasting no change to rates for the rest of the year but the central bank is expected to provide fiscal support measures such as buying government bonds.

The baht, already Asia's worst performing currency this year, is expected to remain weak in the coming months considering the pressure to its current account from a disruption to exports, Han Tan, market analyst at FXTM said.

"Ultimately, a weaker baht would serve as a tailwind once foreign tourism can be restored to bolster its economic recovery."

Financials lifted India's NSE Nifty 50 .NSEI 0.6% as the central bank Governor Shaktikanta Das, in an unscheduled address, said the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked banks to provide fresh debt moratoriums to some small borrowers.

Businesses in India have been hit hard by the new round of lockdowns over the past month to curb the spread of the virus just as many were inching back to normalcy from the nationwide lockdown last year.

The Indian rupee INR=IN was little changed at 73.84 per dollar.

The Indonesian rupiah IDR= pared early losses to trade flat as the Southeast Asia's largest economy reported a 0.74% contraction in the first-quarter, in line with forecasts and moderating from a sharper drop in the previous quarter.

Singapore shares .STI lost 0.9%, slumping for fourth day as the city-state's COVID-19 crisis escalated on recording locally acquired cases of coronavirus variants which led to tighter curbs.

Financial markets in South Korea were shut due to a holiday.

HIGHLIGHTS

** India 10-YR benchmark yield IN058530G=CC dips to 6.0062%

** Thailand's 10-year government bond yields are down 2 basis points at 1.65%

** Top losers on the Singapore STI .STI include: Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust AEMN.SI down 3.9% and Singapore Airlines Ltd SIAL.SI down 2.6%

Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0433 GMT

COUNTRY

FX RIC

FX DAILY %

FX YTD %

INDEX

STOCKS DAILY %

STOCKS YTD %

Japan

JPY=

+0.03

-5.54

.N225

0.00

4.99

India

INR=IN

+0.08

-0.98

.NSEI

0.46

4.16

Indonesia

IDR=

+0.00

-2.67

.JKSE

0.20

-0.05

Malaysia

MYR=

+0.17

-2.26

.KLSE

-0.12

-2.51

Philippines

PHP=

+0.02

+0.04

.PSI

-0.40

-11.29

Singapore

SGD=

+0.09

-1.04

.STI

-0.85

10.84

Taiwan

TWD=TP

+0.03

+1.93

.TWII

0.60

15.63

Thailand

THB=TH

-0.16

-3.94

.SETI

-1.37

7.74

(Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill)

((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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