EMERGING MARKETS-Weak China data hits most Asian markets, currencies muted

EMERGING MARKETS-Weak China data hits most Asian markets, currencies muted

Reuters  | Aug 14, 2020 16:10

EMERGING MARKETS-Weak China data hits most Asian markets, currencies muted

* Graphic: Foreign flows into Asian stocks https://tmsnrt.rs/3f2vwbA
* South Korea stocks fall most
* Malaysia's economy contracts 17.1% in Q2Indonesia, Taiwan
Indonesia, Taiwan markets edge up on China recovery hopes

By Nikhil Nainan
Aug 14 (Reuters) - Most of Asia's stock markets weakened on
Friday as a surprise drop in China retail sales dented hopes of
a swift recovery from the COVID-19 impact at the world's
second-largest economy, while currencies stayed muted as the
dollar steadied.
Markets that heavily correlate with Chinese demand and
global trade flows dropped with Seoul stocks .KS11 diving
1.2%, and Kuala Lumpur .KLSE and Bangkok .SETI dropping more
than 0.6% each.
China's July retail sales unexpectedly fell and factory
output missed estimates, dampening investor sentiment that
stemmed from upbeat recent data from the country that was the
first emerge from lockdowns. "It's more a knee-jerk reaction," said Julian Wee, an
investment strategist at Credit Suisse in Singapore, referring
to some of the falls.
Indonesia .JKSE and Taiwan .TWII markets edged higher,
taking relief from the view that reopening of China's economy
was taking place. Analysts said the data points to some
improvement in the domestic Chinese economy.
"The data overall indicates that the reopening is still
proceeding smoothly in North Asia and the vigilance of the
authorities in both China and Korea suggests a meaningful
reversal of the reopening is unlikely," Wee said.
In China, the Shanghai Composite Index .SSEC rebounded
from its initial dip to rise 1.1%, while the yuan CNY=CFXS was
little changed.
However, traders remain cautious ahead of the U.S-China
trade talks on Saturday, with relations between the two
countries remaining fraught in the run up to the U.S. election.
In Malaysia, shares .KLSE and the ringgit MYR= were
lower, but stuck to trading ranges prior to domestic data that
showed the economy shrank more than expected in the second
quarter, its worst contraction in more than two decades.
The country's central bank also sharply cut its annual GDP
forecast, but said the worst was likely over and expected
economic activity to gradually pick up in the second half.
Next week, it will be Thailand's turn to report a likely
sharp drop in its second-quarter GDP, while Indonesia's central
bank will meet to decide monetary policy.
The rupiah IDR= weakened 0.4% against the dollar.

HIGHLIGHTS:
** Malaysia's economy shrank by 17.1% in Q2, compared with
Reuters poll forecast of a 10% decline
** Malaysia's 3-year benchmark yield fell 0.6 basis points
to 1.885%
** Top losers in Malaysia include Top Glove Corp TPGC.KL
and Hartalega Holdings Bhd HTHB.KL

Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0700 GMT
COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDEX STOCKS STOCKS
DAILY % YTD % DAILY % YTD %
Japan JPY= +0.09 +1.68 .N225 0.17 -1.55
China CNY=CFXS +0.03 +0.28 .SSEC 1.10 10.07
India INR=IN +0.09 -4.53 .NSEI 0.48 -6.68
Indonesia IDR= -0.44 -5.99 .JKSE 0.15 -16.71
Malaysia MYR= -0.07 -2.48 .KLSE -0.91 -1.68
Philippines PHP= +0.21 +3.88 .PSI -0.34 -22.24
S.Korea KRW=KFTC -0.11 -2.38 .KS11 -1.23 9.55
Singapore SGD= +0.01 -2.03 .STI 0.01 -19.45
Taiwan TWD=TP +0.47 +2.40 .TWII 0.25 6.65
Thailand THB=TH +0.00 -3.70 .SETI -0.55 -15.22

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