By Nikhil Nainan
Sept 9 (Reuters) – Malaysian, Philippine and Indonesian stocks led falls in Asia’s emerging stock markets on Wednesday, as a tech sector sell-off drove a wave of global selling and a drop in oil prices added to the pain for Malaysia’s state-controlled oil companies.
Currency markets across the region were more resilient, although Indonesia’s rupiah again suffered after a week dominated by concerns about government influence over its central bank, forcing the bank to intervene again in markets.
In Kuala Lumpur .KLSE, the listed units of state-run oil and gas group Petronas were among the top losers as oil prices fell below $40 a barrel for the first time since June on worries over demand. O/R
The index fell as much as 1.9% to its lowest since the end of June.
With central banks across the region cutting interest rates to offset the impact of the coronavirus crisis, a slim majority of analysts expect Bank Negara Malaysia to shave another 25 basis points off its main rate on Thursday, bringing it to a record low of 1.5%.
The central bank has already slashed rates by 125 bps this year but ING economist Prakash Sakpal argued that the ringgit’s MYR= 4% rise against the dollar since June should give the bank more room for manoeuvre.
The ringgit dipped 0.2% against the dollar in morning trade.
The rupiah IDR= has fallen more than 1% in the past week and it was down another 0.5% on Wednesday, with the central bank’s head of monetary management telling Reuters it had intervened to calm spot currency markets.
Wei Liang Chang, a macro strategist at DBS, said the rupiah was continuing to suffer from concerns over proposed changes to the central bank charter as well as selling of Indonesian bonds, among the region’s favourite high-yielding carry trades for foreign investors.
A bi-weekly bond auction on Tuesday raised 22 trillion rupiah, but the total bids fell to their lowest in more than four months.
A top Indonesian minister told Reuters that the country must synchronise monetary and fiscal policies better to tackle economic pressures caused by the pandemic, although the government does not back a proposal for a monetary board to oversee Bank Indonesia.
** Top losers on Malaysia’s benchmark index .KLSE were Top Glove Corp TPGC.KL and IHH Healthcare IHHH.KL
** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are up 3 basis points to 6.912%
** Malaysia’s 3-year benchmark yield is up 0.5 basis points to 1.859%
Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0353 GMT
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(Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill)
((NikhilKurian.Nainan@thomsonreuters.com; Twitter: @NikhilKurianN; +91 806 182 2724))
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