Emerging Markets: Indonesian 10-year bond yields at 4-week low; Indian shares slump on record Covid-19 spike

JAKARTA, April 5 (Reuters): Indian shares dived more than 2% on Monday after the country imposed fresh restrictions as coronavirus cases touched a record high, while a firmer dollar dragged down Asia's emerging currencies lower in holiday-thinned trade.

Stocks and currencies in the region were trading lower for much of the session as strong US jobs data raised worries that the Federal Reserve may hike interest rates sooner than indicated.

India's NSE Nifty 50 index fell 2.3% and the rupee slipped 0.5% after the country's coronavirus caseload jumped by more than a 100,000 to surpass 12.5 million and fresh curbs were imposed in the financial capital of Mumbai.

Maharashtra, the state that houses Mumbai, will start shutting shopping malls, cinemas, bars, restaurants and places of worship from Monday evening.

Trading elsewhere was limited as markets in Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Asian powerhouse China and most parts of Europe were closed.

"With Europe on holiday today, volumes will rapidly taper this afternoon in Asia," said Jeffrey Halley, a senior Asia Pacific market analyst at OANDA.

The dollar and 10-year Treasury yields gained late in Asian trade as data on Friday showed the US economy created more jobs than expected in March, although initial market reaction was scant due to the Easter holidays.

The prospects of a return to a full employment is raising questions about whether the Fed can stick to its pledge to keep interest rates steady through 2023.

The market has fully priced in one rate hike by the end of next year. A rate hike could narrow the rate differential between Asia's high-yielders and US Treasuries.

Minutes of the Fed's March meeting will be released on Wednesday.

The rupiah was 0.1% firmer on the dollar, with benchmark 10-year bond yields at their lowest level in around four weeks.

In comments late on Thursday, a senior Bank Indonesia deputy governor said the central bank has room to cut its key policy rates due to low inflation.

Bank Indonesia left its key policy rate at a record low of 3.50% last month to stave off capital outflows and protect the rupiah, which fell around 2% in March.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) ends its two-day meeting on Wednesday, where it is expected to leave its key interest rate unchanged and may revise inflation projections higher.

"A relatively dovish guidance and/or OMO (open market operation) purchases/twist operations could trigger a rally in fixed income markets," Barclays analysts said. - Reuters
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Indonesia , 10-year , Bond , Yields , 4-week Low


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