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EMERGING MARKETS-Indonesia rupiah flat, stocks jump ahead of cenbank rate decision

Anushka Trivedi
·3-min read

* Graphic: World FX rates https://tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E * Indonesia central bank announces rate decision later * S. Korea shares drop as virus cases climb * Singtel reports data breach, shares drop By Anushka Trivedi Feb 18 (Reuters) - Indonesia's rupiah was little changedwhile shares rose on Thursday ahead of the country's centralbank meeting where chances of an interest rate cut seemed to dimafter rising U.S. yields this week dented the currency. Indonesia bonds were sold off heavily on Wednesday and therupiah slipped, prompting several analysts to scale back bets ofa 25 basis point interest rate cut as the central bank has prioritised currency stability in the past. The rupiah was steady at 14,010 per dollar aftereasing 0.6% in the previous session. Stocks jumped 0.9%,after falling the previous day as U.S. benchmark Treasury yields hit a one-year high. "The necessary condition has always been that thereshouldn't be much turmoil in markets, hence, the probability ofthe cut does go down because of what has been happening," saidArup Raha, head of ASEAN Economics at BNP Paribas. "However, our official call is that there will be monetaryaccommodation from Bank Indonesia (BI) over the course of 2021and this may be one of those meetings where they will cut." BI should continue to provide a backstop for the purchase ofgovernment bonds, he added, stressing on the need for monetarypolicy to work in tandem with government's fiscal support. Indonesia financed its 2020 fiscal deficit and COVID-19stimulus by raising debt, a good portion of which was bought bythe central bank. Other currencies in the region found some support in thedollar's mild losses in Asian trade. The Malaysianringgit, Singapore dollar and the Philippinepeso all rose around 0.1%. South Korea stocks slid 1.2% to a one-week low asdaily coronavirus cases rose by another 621, unchanged from aday earlier when it marked the highest level in 39 days. China shares rallied up to 2% while the yuan ticked up on resuming trade after a week-long LunarNew year holiday. Singapore Telecommunications slumped 3% to weighon the Straits Times Index after the telco reported aprivacy breach, which led to data of some consumers beingstolen. HIGHLIGHTS ** Philippine and Malaysia shares fell 1.1%and 0.2%, respectively ** JGS Summit and Aboitiz Equity are toplosers on the Philippine index ** Top gainers on the Jakarta index: PT Mahaka Radio IntegraTbk, up 27% and PT Nusantara Inti Corpora Tbk, up 25% Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0423 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX DAILY % FX YTD % INDEX STOCKS DAILY % STOCKS YTD % Japan +0.01 -2.46 -0.16 10.20 China +0.10 +1.20 0.39 5.65 India +0.00 +0.45 0.09 8.88 Indonesia +0.00 +0.21 0.44 4.62 Malaysia +0.02 -0.40 -0.19 -2.15 Philippines -0.03 -0.82 -1.33 -3.73 S.Korea +0.20 -1.73 -1.13 7.83 Singapore +0.02 -0.55 -0.41 2.27 Taiwan +1.69 +2.06 0.40 11.50 Thailand -0.10 -0.17 -0.02 4.50 (Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; Editing by AnaNicolaci da Costa)