Indonesian shares slide nearly 2% as virus death toll mounts

* Graphic: World FX rates
* Asian stocks
* Philippine shares set to lose nearly 3% this week
* S. Korean shares end three-day winning streak
* Most Asia FX set for weekly gains

By Shriya Ramakrishnan
Jan 22 (Reuters) - Indonesian shares were the worst hit
among Asia's emerging stock markets on Friday after a record
rise in domestic COVID-19 deaths, while the region's currencies
took a breather from recent gains as the dollar steadied.
Stocks in Jakarta fell nearly 2%, while equities
elsewhere in Asia also dipped, taking cues from a pause in a
stimulus-driven global market rally. MSCI's broadest index of
Asia-Pacific stocks outside of Japan was down
0.8% after hitting a record high the previous day.
Indonesia reported a record daily increase in coronavirus
deaths on Thursday for the second time this week, while its
confirmed cases are among the highest in Asia, which has put
hospitals in the Southeast Asian nation under serious strain.

The rupiah weakened 0.3% against the greenback.
"Although President Joko Widodo recently received the very
first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in the country, it remains to be
seen whether the government could fulfil its own timetable for
disbursement to the general public," Anthony Kevin, an economist
at Mirae Asset Sekuritas wrote in a note.
Regional currencies dipped as the dollar index
regained some footing after three days of declines. The
Malaysian ringgit, South Korean won and
Singapore dollar eased between 0.3% to 0.5%.
Taiwan's dollar once again stood out with gains of
more than 1% against the dollar.
"We are constructive on the outlook for Asia FX in 2021 but
conservative on the magnitude, with average forecast
appreciation of 2-3% for the major currencies vs. USD, partly
symptomatic of our view volatility will be lower relative to
2020," BofA analysts wrote in a note.
Meanwhile, selling pressure continued in the Philippines,
with the benchmark index down 1.3% and on course for its
worst week since late November last year. Blue chip consumer and
real estate stocks were the biggest drags on the index.
Foreigners have sold $70.83 million worth of Philippine
equities so far this week as of Thursday's close, its biggest
weekly outflow in more than a month, according to Refinitiv
Singapore's FTSE Straits Times Index fell 0.8% after
three straight sessions of gains, while Thai shares were
down 0.6% as the country's finance minister warned that the
economy could grow less this year, than earlier forecast.

In the week ahead, focus will turn towards fourth-quarter
gross domestic product data from South Korea and the
Philippines, where investors will look for signs of an economic
recovery in 2021.

** Thailand's 3-year benchmark yield is down 1 basis point
at 0.5%
** Top losers on the Jakarta stock index include
Gihon Telekomunikasi Indonesia Tbk PT down 6.99% at
1730 rupiah; Tiga Pilar Sejahtera Food Tbk PT down
6.98% at 320 rupiah
** In the Philippines, top index losers are PLDT Inc
down 3.14% at 1390 pesos; SM Investments Corp
down 3% at 1035 pesos

Asia stock indexes and
currencies at 0708 GMT
Japan -0.18 -0.41 -0.44 4.33
China <CNY=CFXS -0.20 +0.87 -0.42 3.83
India -0.05 +0.05 -0.63 3.70
Indonesi -0.29 +0.14 -1.89 5.24
Malaysia -0.30 -0.50 0.49 -1.51
Philippi +0.01 -0.14 -1.32 -1.31
S.Korea <KRW=KFTC -0.45 -1.54 -0.64 9.30
Singapor -0.30 -0.38 -0.78 5.27
Taiwan +1.41 +1.80 -0.83 8.73
Thailand -0.20 -0.07 -0.63 3.77

(Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Additional
reporting by Gaurav Dogra; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

First Published: 2021-01-22 04:16:24
Updated 2021-01-22 09:47:03

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