Asian stocks hit by US tech slide, FX subdued

THE Philippine peso and South Korean won led losses on Thursday among subdued Asian emerging currencies, while stock markets in the region fell after disappointing earnings forecasts from Facebook parent Meta Platforms hammered tech shares.

The won was trading 0.5% lower, while the peso fell as much as 0.7% to its lowest since Nov. 10, 2022.

The Indonesian rupiah fell 0.4%, losing the ground it gained a day earlier when the country's central bank surprised markets by delivering an unexpected quarter-point rate hike to support the currency.

"We believe BI (Bank Indonesia) struck a hawkish tone and left the door open to further hikes, retaining a strong focus on its FX stability goal and a still-sanguine view on the growth outlook," Nomura analysts said in a note.

Analysts at Citi said the "hike is unlikely to do much for the rupiah in the near-term" largely due to the uncertain global macroeconomic backdrop. They now see smaller cumulative rate cuts, totalling 100 basis points by 2025 compared to a previous expectation of 150 bps.

In other regional currencies, the Malaysian ringgit depreciated 0.2%, while the Thai baht dropped 0.3%.

Most emerging market stocks fell, led by South Korean and Taiwanese equities, after Meta's earnings forecasts disappointed investors.

Tech bellwethers Alphabet, Microsoft and Intel are due to report earnings later on Thursday.

South Korean stocks fell 1.8% whereas shares in Taiwan lost 1.4%. Both gained more than 2% in the previous session.

Investors also await first-quarter U.S. gross domestic product data due later in the day and March personal consumption expenditures on Friday, for further insights on the Federal Reserve's monetary policy outlook.

Stocks in Malaysia remained largely unchanged after data showed the country's consumer price index (CPI) rose 1.8% from a year earlier in March, just below the predicted 2% rise, according to a Reuters poll.

"We think inflation could pick up somewhat due to the services tax hike starting in March, but it will remain manageable at around 2%," said MUFG's Lloyd Chan.

Singapore stocks were as much as 1.3% lower, while Indonesian shares fell 0.6%.

Bucking the trend, Philippine shares gained as much as 0.4%, while stocks in Thailand rose 0.3%.

The Vietnamese dong was 0.3% higher, distancing itself from the record low hit last week.


** Indonesia's central bank delivers surprise rate hike to anchor rupiah

** China's yuan inches lower, a whisker away from daily downside limit

** Fragile yen could make BOJ's Ueda tilt more towards hawkish stance - Reuters

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