Indonesian rupiah, Philippine stocks weakest as virus fears mount
Stocks in the Philippines and South Korea fell most as markets in Asia caught up with a drop in major US indexes on Friday. - Reuters
Bengaluru - Philippine stocks slip 2.4%, gains in peso muted.
Asian equities slipped on Monday as a surge in global coronavirus cases dented investor optimism about the economic recovery, supported safe-haven flows into the US dollar and subdued emerging market currencies.
Stocks in the Philippines and South Korea fell most as markets in Asia caught up with a drop in major US indexes on Friday after several states there halted plans to reopen economies due to a jump in cases.
The death toll from Covid-19 reached half a million people and confirmed cases topped 10 million on Sunday, according to a Reuters tally.
Malaysian stocks slipped after ratings agency S&P Global on Friday downgraded the country's outlook to negative from stable, citing risks to its economy and the government's fiscal metrics due to the pandemic and the pressure on oil prices.
The ringgit, the region's biggest loser so far this year after the Indian rupee, however, traded 0.2 per cent firmer.
Philippine stocks shed 2.4 per cent to hit their lowest since June 2, as the government continued to relax lockdown measures despite an acceleration in the spread of infections.
The country's central bank said a cut in banks' reserve requirement ratio (RRR) was still on the table and pledged to use its full range of monetary tools to ensure additional liquidity, but that did little to lift sentiment.
Last week, the Philippine central bank unexpectedly cut its benchmark interest rate for the fourth time this year by 50 basis points to a new low.
The bigger-than-expected rate cut had investors worried the economy may be in for a steeper decline than what markets have priced in, said Nicholas Mapa, ING's senior economist for the Philippines, but added room for monetary easing was limited.
"Investors also know that BSP is nearing the end of its easing cycle despite declarations that BSP continues to have ample policy space," he said.
Elsewhere, China's yuan ticked marginally lower while its benchmark stock index lost nearly 1 per cent on reopening after the Dragon Boat Festival holiday.
The Indonesian rupiah eased 0.2 per cent, while the stock index fell about 0.5 per cent. - Reuters