Emerging Markets - Asian FX, stocks hit by dollar's gains on US jobs data; Indonesian rupiah at four-year low

MANILA/ JAKARTA (Reuters): Emerging Asian stocks and currencies slid on Monday, with the Indonesian rupiah dropping to a more-than-four-year low, after strong U.S. jobs data suggested that the Federal Reserve could take time to start its interest rate easing cycle this year.

The strong jobs report sent the U.S. dollar higher, which dragged down MSCI's gauge for emerging markets currencies by 0.32% to its lowest since May 2.

The rupiah declined as much as 0.6% versus the dollar to 16,293.00, its lowest since April 2020, with the central bank participating to prevent extreme volatility in the currency, among the worst-performing in the region this year.

"It is partly driven by strong non-farm payrolls data last Friday and seasonally high dividend repatriation," said Fakhrul Fulvian, an economist at Trimegah Securities.

The repatriation is payouts to offshore investors by multinationals and government-linked companies.

"We are cautious on the upside for the (USD-IDR) pair and whether it can keep below the 16,300 level amid the possibility that the greenback can still move higher," Maybank analysts said.

The Thai baht was down 0.5% and the Malaysian ringgit fell 0.6%. The South Korean won slid as much as 1.2%, its steepest intraday drop since April 19.

Among equities, Thai stocks declined as much as 1.5% to their lowest since November 2020. Stocks in the Philippines dropped by 0.9%, while the Indonesian benchmark index retreated by as much as 0.8% to its lowest level since mid-November, 2023.

The markets are now focussed on US inflation data and the Fed's monetary policy meeting this week. While the Fed is widely expected to keep rates on hold, investors will be more watchful of any future projection on rates.

The central banks in Thailand and Taiwan will also announce their monetary policy decisions this week, and Barclays expects both to keep rates unchanged. In Taiwan, slowing inflation reduces the risk of a surprise hike, Barclays analysts said.

They expect the Thai central bank to highlight the possibility of a growth recovery, while remaining vigilant on financial stability risks. Financial markets in Taiwan and China are closed for a public holiday on Monday. - Reuters

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Emerging Markets , Forex , Asia , Hit , Dollar's gain


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