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EMERGING MARKETS-Asian stocks set to end week firmer; rupiah, won ease on bond outflows

Anushka Trivedi
·3-min read

* Graphic: World FX rates http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh * S. Korean stocks add 4%, mark sharpest weekly gain since 2008 * Singapore's index firms as banks shine * Indonesian rupiah under pressure, falls 0.6% By Anushka Trivedi Jan 8 (Reuters) - Most Asian equities were set to notch their biggest weekly gains in many months on Friday, while Indonesia's rupiah and the South Korean won led the declines among currencies as rising U.S. yields lifted the dollar. Almost every stock market in the region gained around 2%, with Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia all hitting multi-month highs as global equities rode the euphoria of a potentially large U.S. stimulus. Singapore's benchmark, the worst performer last year among emerging markets, soared as the heavyweight financials tracked their U.S. peers higher. The Straits Times Index has gained about 5% this week, its most since mid-November. Seoul's stocks rocketed 4%, getting an extra boost from Hyundai's 20% surge on possible electric vehicle deal with Apple. KOSPI's weekly gains amounted to a whopping 9.7%, its best performance since 2008. However, the South Korean won, along with the Indonesian rupiah, slipped as investors dumped the countries' bonds in favour of U.S. debt. The dollar index held on to its biggest gain in more than two months as Treasury yields climbed more than 1% after a Democrat victory to control the Senate on Wednesday raised hopes of more fiscal stimulus. The rupiah, which underpins one of Asia's most popular bond markets for foreign investors, eased 0.6%. Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields were up 9.9 basis points at 6.13%, their highest since Nov. 24. "The rebound in the dollar overnight, helped in part by rising U.S. bond yields, has seen Asian currencies open weaker today," said Khoon Goh, head of Asia research at ANZ. However, analysts expect this bounce in the dollar to be temporary, banking on vaccine rollouts to support economic growth in Asia and appreciation in the currencies. The Singapore dollar, Malaysia's ringgit and the Thai baht recovered from session lows to trade 0.1% to 0.2% weaker by midday. HIGHLIGHTS ** The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield rose by 1.7 basis points to 0.980%. ** Taiwan's dollar surged 1.6% ** Top gainers on the Singapore STI include Jardine Cycle & Carriage Ltd , up 4.9%, and DBS Group Holdings Ltd, up 4.4% Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0658 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX DAILY % FX YTD % INDEX STOCKS DAILY % STOCKS YTD % Japan -0.10 -0.64 2.36 2.53 China +0.18 +0.96 -0.24 2.72 India +0.00 -0.35 1.02 2.14 Indonesia -0.64 +0.43 1.67 4.64 Malaysia -0.07 -0.45 -0.26 -1.75 Philippines +0.13 -0.06 2.39 2.10 S.Korea -0.23 -0.33 3.97 9.70 Singapore -0.05 -0.33 2.46 4.74 Taiwan +1.60 +1.80 1.64 4.96 Thailand -0.20 -0.33 1.62 6.14 (Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)