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EMERGING MARKETS-Indonesia stocks drop on virus toll, U.S. stimulus helps broader Asia

·3-min read

* Asian stock markets: https://tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4 * Indonesia pares some of its sharp early losses * Chip stocks jump in S.Korea * Taiwan's TSMC to prioritise auto chips if possible Jan 25 (Reuters) - Indonesian shares fell sharply early on Monday on concerns over the country's rising COVID-19 toll, while delays in vaccine supplies and spikes in cases globally weighed on broader investor sentiment in Asia's emerging currency and stock markets. Optimism that the new U.S. administration would pass a promised $1.9 trillion in fiscal stimulus, however, provided some support to investors in the region betting that could revive the world's largest economy. "Markets are not in dire despair," Mizuho Bank said in a note to clients. "But earlier optimism, and the consequent reflationary reactions are being subjected to some degree of re-calibration. And caution is being baked in." The sharp 2.5% fall in early trade in Jakarta was also scaled back slightly though shares remained at a more than two-week low. Indonesia recorded two days of record coronavirus deaths last week and has one of Asia's highest case loads. Mirae Asset Sekuritas said COVID-19 cases are rising in the capital Jakarta and East Java, two parts of the country that are key contributors to Indonesia's economy. The rupiah, favoured by foreign investors looking to tap Indonesia's high-yielding debt, was flat in line with the region's emerging currencies as the dollar held steady ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's meeting this Thursday. Markets are expecting the Fed to stay dovish with policymakers in recent weeks stemming worries of early tapering. "That's always a difficult tightrope to walk," said Robert Carnell, ING's Asia-Pacific head of research, about messaging on the Fed's dovish stance. "So could explain why markets are not committing themselves ahead of the meeting," he added. South Korea was an outlier in the region, with its shares climbing 1.8% with chip giants Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix leading gains. In nearby Taiwan, the country's economics minister spoke to senior executives at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) about prioritising production of auto chips if possible over concerns of global shortages. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are up 3.40 basis points at 6.323% ** Prima Globalindo Logistik PT Tbk, Indofarma Tbk PT and Asuransi Jasa Tania Tbk PT fell the most in Indonesia Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0346 GMT COUNTRY FX FX FX INDEX STOCKS STOCKS RIC DAILY % YTD % DAILY % YTD % Japan +0.02 -0.49 0.47 4.82 China +0.09 +0.79 0.56 4.43 India +0.00 +0.12 0.00 2.79 Indonesia +0.00 +0.14 -1.22 4.20 Malaysia -0.05 -0.58 -0.19 -2.06 Philippines +0.04 -0.11 0.12 -1.19 S.Korea +0.03 -1.51 1.79 11.25 Singapore +0.17 -0.39 -0.20 4.99 Taiwan +1.36 +1.73 -0.76 7.90 Thailand +0.03 -0.03 0.28 3.64 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)