Emerging markets: Indonesia's rupiah hits 4-month low as Asian stocks take big hit

JAKARTA March 5 (Reuters): Indonesia's rupiah was hovering around four-month lows on Friday as rising US bond yields sent the dollar higher and hit appetite for Asia's emerging currency and stock markets.

Stock markets in Asia suffered early falls following overnight comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who reiterated the Fed's policy stance as appropriate, even though he thought the recent bond sell-off was "notable".

By midday, Asian markets recovered some ground, with most standing less than half a percent lower, and Chinese stocks gaining again. "Any fallout has been limited in Asia thus far thanks to China," said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst for Asia Pacific at OANDA. China set a more than 6% growth target for 2021 at its parliamentary meeting, having skipped a target last year due to the pandemic.

The Chinese government said it aimed to create more jobs in 2021 than it did last year. It was the only major economy to see growth last year, at 2.3%, as it was the first to emerge from the pandemic.

Indonesia's central bank said it was ready to intervene in the market to keep the weakening rupiah steady.

The currency was down 0.3% on Friday. Yields on Indonesian 10-year bonds were last at 6.609%, while stocks edged 0.1% higher. Indonesia has some of the highest-yielding debt in emerging markets.

Analysts at Maybank said if US 10-year yields cross the 1.61% level hit last week, then sentiment in Asia, particularly on the rupiah and South Korea's won, could be undermined further.

At last look, US. 10-year yields were up at 1.56%, slightly below the recent 1.61% high.

In the Philippines, the central bank said a spike in inflation to its fastest rate in 26 months was temporary, suggesting it was not in a rush to reverse its accommodative monetary policy stance.

Manila stocks and the peso were flat.

Thai shares rose 0.7% as a surprise OPEC+ decision to not increase oil supply in April boosted prices and supported energy stocks on the index.

Malaysia's 3-year benchmark yield up 11.4 basis points to 2.157% and up above Malaysia, Thai oil and gas producer PTT Pcl rose around 2%.

Analysts at Barclays say inflation will now start to rank higher on the priority list of central banks in emerging markets Asia stock indexes and currencies. - Reuters
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Indonesia , Ruiah , 4-Month Low


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