Emerging markets -Thai stocks, baht fall on reports of delayed Bangkok reopening as Philippine stocks lead losses in region


Image from The Nation Thailand/ANN

BANGKOK, Sept 17 (Reuters): Thailand's baht and stocks fell on Friday, hit by reports of a delay in the tourism-reliant nation's plans to reopen capital Bangkok to international travellers, while other emerging Asian currencies came under pressure from a firmer US dollar.

Concerns around regulatory crackdowns in China as well as debt-ridden developer China Evergrande Group's financial troubles dragged equities in broader Asia. Shares in the Philippines dropped 0.8% and led losses in the region, while Malaysia and Singapore fell 0.6% and 0.3%, respectively.

Stocks in Thailand fell 0.6% to hit a 3-week low, while the baht weakened 0.4%. The Bangkok Post on Thursday reported that Thailand's tourism minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, said the reopening of the city to foreigners should be delayed by two weeks, as the country attempts to inoculate a larger proportion of its population.

"Thailand remains under pressure from a precarious political situation, an uncertain path out of the pandemic and fast approaching policy limits," analysts at Mizuho Bank said in a note.

"Although headline COVID-19 cases have eased from its peak, the pandemic situation is far from being under control."

It had earlier planned to allow vaccinated tourists into Bangkok by Oct 1.

The dollar firmed following an unexpected rise in U.S. retail sales for August, which offset some concerns about growth in the world's largest economy and signalled the Fed might opt for an earlier tapering of its massive pandemic-fuelled stimulus.

The South Korean won and Malaysian ringgit both weakened 0.3%. Equities in China have dropped nearly 2.5% this week, after a raft of weaker-than-expected data suggested growth in the world's second-largest economy would slow in the second half of this year.

Meanwhile, cash-strapped China Evergrande tanked further to mark its worst week ever.

Indian shares reversed course to lose 0.1%, after gaining as much as 0.9% in early trading to hit yet another record high Investors in Indonesia looked ahead to the country's central bank meeting on Sept. 21, where the key interest rate is expected to be kept steady, as the economy gradually reopens after a recent devastating Covid-19 wave. - Reuters

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