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EMERGING MARKETS-China, Indonesia lead Asian stocks lower as U.S. yields rise again

Nikhil Nainan
·3-min read
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* Malaysia leaves interest rates unchanged at 1.75% * China stocks fall over 2%; Taiwan, S.Korea closed over 1% lower By Nikhil Nainan March 4 (Reuters) - China and Indonesia led a sell-off in Asia's emerging stock markets on Thursday as U.S. Treasury yields rose again, raising renewed doubts about continued monetary support and global growth. Global bond yields have risen in recent weeks, with markets concerned that central bankers could tighten the monetary spigot as the global economy rebounds from the damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. That prospect hit world equities last week. Stocks in Jakarta and Manila fell further by afternoon, dropping close to 1% each. Equities in Taiwan , China and South Korea were the worst performers. Benchmark U.S. 10-year yields were at 1.47% in Asian trade. That was off the one-year high of 1.61% seen last week. "While not quite reaching the recent high..., we think that inflation worries are getting entrenched," analysts at DBS said. But, they said, Asian markets were less vulnerable to global market volatility than they were in 2013, when bond investors threw a "tantrum" after hints the U.S. Federal Reserve might slow the money-printing presses. DBS analysts were recommending "extending Asian credit exposure on dips" as a result. In Malaysia, the central bank kept its key interest rate at 1.75%, as expected, with the ringgit unchanged lower at 0.1%. Bank Negara Malaysia said the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines will lift sentiment and boost economic activity going forward. Stocks in Kuala Lumpur were down 0.3%, while 10-year bond yields edged 1.5 basis points higher to 3.105%. Indonesia's rupiah - which backs some of the highest-yielding emerging market debt - fell 0.3%. Fed Chair Jerome Powell is due to speak later in the day, with investors waiting to see if he addresses rising yields. Another key event is China's annual parliamentary gathering that will take place on Friday. The government is expected to set the country's macroeconomic policy targets at the meeting. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields up 4.6 basis points to 6.616% ** Malaysia's 3-year benchmark yield up 3.9 basis points at 2.027% ** Singapore shares edged higher, led by Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd and top bank DBS Group Holdings Ltd Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0704 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDEX STOCKS STOCKS DAILY % YTD % DAILY % YTD % Japan -0.12 -3.62 -2.13 5.41 China +0.01 +0.94 -2.32 0.60 India +0.09 +0.58 -0.75 8.23 Indonesia -0.28 -1.68 -0.95 5.64 Malaysia -0.12 -0.84 -0.45 -2.82 Philippines -0.08 -1.13 -0.87 -3.60 S.Korea -0.43 -3.46 -1.28 5.92 Singapore +0.08 -0.78 0.27 5.80 Taiwan +1.48 +2.29 -1.88 7.97 Thailand -0.13 -1.25 -0.38 6.08 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa and Uttaresh.V)