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EMERGING MARKETS-Asian stocks, currencies fall ahead of U.S. Fed outcome

EMERGING MARKETS-Asian stocks, currencies fall ahead of U.S. Fed outcome

· 03/17/2021 04:30
EMERGING MARKETS-Asian stocks, currencies fall ahead of U.S. Fed outcome

Indonesia, Taiwan central banks meet on Thursday

Bank Indonesia seen keeping rates at record low

Strong export data shields Singapore equities from deeper losses

- Indonesia's rupiah led a slide in Asia's emerging currencies on Wednesday ahead of the outcome of the Federal Reserve policy meeting, which will be closely watched for its timeline on an interest rate hike.

Stocks in Asia declined around half a percent, with Seoul .KS11 and Tapei .TWII down slightly more.

If the Fed does not address worries about a rise in yields and a likely uptick in inflation, it could potentially sap the appetite for the region's higher-yielding emerging markets, market participants said. nL1N2L82OT

Worries of capital outflows in emerging markets have been rife due to the rising U.S. yields, prompting most Asian central banks to reaffirm support for bond markets and spell out their level of tolerance towards potential spikes in inflation.

The yield on 10-year Treasuries US10YT=RR was at 1.63%, hovering around 13-month highs, in the run up to the conclusion of the meeting, which will happen on Thursday morning Asia hours.

"I don't think there'll be a pushback against higher yields. We could see a risk that the dot-plot for 2023 will show a hike, but I think Chair Jerome Powell is going to downplay the significance of the dot-plot," said Sim Moh Siong, FX Strategist at Bank of Singapore.

The "dot plot" is a chart showing Fed Governors' expectations for future interest rates.

"The market has more or less priced-in the likelihood that they could show a dot-plot of one hike. If it remains unchanged for 2023, it will send a very dovish signal."

Indonesia's rupiah IDR=, which backs some of emerging markets' highest-yielding debt, fell 0.3%, while stocks .JKSE were down half a percent. The country's central bank will meet later on Thursday where rates are expected to be left unchanged. nL4N2LD2I8

The rupiah has lost nearly 4% since Feb. 16 as U.S. bond yields began to rise. The yield on benchmark 10-year bonds ID10YT=RR were slightly higher on Wednesday.

Analysts at OCBC said they do not expect Asian central banks to rush to hike rates ahead of the Fed, saying the markets' near-term rate hike pricings seemed aggressive as U.S. rates would likely stay unchanged till end-2022 at least.

Meanwhile, in Singapore, stocks .STI gained edged higher after the city-state reported an 8.2% month-over-month rise in its February non-oil exports, which handily beat expectations. nB8N2JG00G

In the Philippines, shares .PSI also edged higher, extending their gains after a sharp drop on Monday when worries that rising COVID-1 cases would deal a fresh blow to the country's economic prospects.

HIGHLIGHTS:

** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields up 2.19 basis points at 6.769%

** Akbar Indo Makmur Stimec Tbk PT AIMS.JK and Bank Ganesha Tbk PT BGTG.JK fell 7% each

Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0712 GMT

COUNTRY

FX RIC

FX DAILY %

FX YTD %

INDEX

STOCKS DAILY %

STOCKS YTD %

Japan

JPY=

-0.14

-5.40

.N225

-0.02

9.00

China

CNY=CFXS

+0.07

+0.41

.SSEC

-0.03

-0.79

India

INR=IN

-0.04

+0.67

.NSEI

-0.33

6.28

Indonesia

IDR=

-0.28

-2.77

.JKSE

-0.45

5.06

Malaysia

MYR=

-0.12

-2.36

.KLSE

-0.35

-0.55

Philippines

PHP=

-0.18

-1.42

.PSI

0.12

-8.02

S.Korea

KRW=KFTC

-0.04

-3.89

.KS11

-0.64

6.06

Singapore

SGD=

-0.07

-1.85

.STI

0.14

9.35

Taiwan

TWD=TP

-0.08

+0.70

.TWII

-0.60

10.07

Thailand

THB=TH

-0.16

-2.73

.SETI

-0.11

7.79


(Reporting by Rashmi Ashok, Nikhil Subba and Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Arun Koyyur)

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