Singapore stocks tumble as strict virus curbs return

Office workers scan a Safe Entry QR code to enter a mall, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Singapore May 12, 2021. REUTERS/Dawn Chua

BENGALURU: Singapore stocks tumbled more than 3% on Friday after the city-state's imposition of the strictest COVID-19 curbs since last year stoked worries of a potential unravelling of its nascent recovery.

Most Asian stocks, however, strengthened on reassurances from the U.S. Federal Reserve that a spike in inflation was temporary, with China and South Korea shares advancing 1.7% and 1.1%, respectively.

Singapore stocks marked their worst session in nearly a year and the dollar fell 0.2% as the city-state tightened restrictions on social gatherings and public activities amid a rise in locally acquired infections.

The Asian trade and financial hub had been reporting almost zero or single-digit daily local infections for months, before a recent rise.

Losses were driven by a 7% slump in flag carrier Singapore Airlines and a 4% drop in in-flight caterer SATS Ltd.

"Quick reopening hopes have been dashed, especially for the travel and leisure sectors," Bank of Singapore analyst Moh Siong Sim said. "Manufacturing should hold up as has been the case over the past year."

Taiwan shares rose 1% to snap four sessions of losses after Premier Su Tseng-chang said the COVID-19 alert level would not be raised and that there were enough resources to fight the pandemic.

The bourse though registered its worst week in over a year as it lost more than 8%, amid tighter curbs in public places forced by a rare and unexpected rise in COVID cases.

Philippine shares reversed losses to rise 0.5% as market participants picked up beaten-down stocks, an analyst said, after dropping as much as 2.5% to six-month lows earlier in the session.

Chinese yuan firmed 0.3% to lead gains among Asian currencies as the dollar weakened, with investors assessing the risk of U.S. inflation rising faster than expected.

Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are down about 0.90 basis points at 6.405%.

India's COVID-19 cases cross 24 million.

In the Philippines, top index gainers are SM Investments Corp up 4.3% and Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc up 2.3% - Reuters

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