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EMERGING MARKETS-Rising coronavirus cases send Asian equities, FX lower

Harish Sridharan
·3-min read
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* Asian currencies weaker as dollar firms on safe-haven flows * Singapore stocks hit lowest in four weeks * South Korea stocks mark worst day in nearly 2 months By Harish Sridharan April 21 (Reuters) - Asian stocks and currencies fell on Wednesday as renewed concerns over India's mounting coronavirus crisis and a global spike in COVID-19 cases raised questions over the pace and strength of a global economic recovery. Equity markets in export-focused countries such as Singapore and South Korea took the biggest hit in the region as riskier assets came under pressure globally. The dollar benefited from safe-haven demand overnight, weighing on most Asian currencies, while a negative lead from Wall Street didn't help either. "We are likely to see modest amount of equity outflows in the region at this point in time," said Chang Wei Liang, macro-strategist at DBS Bank. However, he did not expect too much volatility to be transmitted to Asian currencies, unless there was a more significant downswing in equities, which he said looked unlikely. India reported its worst daily death toll on Tuesday, as the world's second most populous country's stretched healthcare system struggles to cope with the pandemic's sweeping impact and imposition of curbs in major cities. Indian currency and equity markets, which were shut for a local holiday, could be in for a torrid reception when they re-open on Thursday. Singapore stocks fell as much as 1.5% earlier in the session to hit a four-week low, while South Korean shares closed 1.5% lower and marked its worst day since Feb. 26. South Korean data earlier in the day showed the country's exports during the first 20 days of April jumped 45.4% from a year earlier, but that did little to lift sentiment in the face of an uncertain global trade outlook. The Indonesian rupiah was off 0.3% even as the country's central bank stood pat on interest rates on Tuesday and pledged its commitment to keep the rupiah currency stable. Highlights ** Top losers on the Singapore STI was SATS Ltd , down 3.13% ** Among the heavyweights in South Korea, SK Hynix fell 3.25%, ** Djasa Ubersakti Tbk PT fell 6.98% and was among the top losers on the Jakarta stock index Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0707 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX DAILY % FX YTD % INDE STOCKS STOCK X DAILY S YTD % % Japan +0.03 -4.45 <.N2 -2.03 3.88 25> China +0.08 +0.50 <.SS 0.02 0.01 EC> Indonesia -0.28 -3.41 <.JK -0.48 0.51 SE> Malaysia -0.06 -2.32 <.KL -0.37 -1.57 SE> Philippines -0.04 -0.79 <.PS -0.94 -9.81 I> S.Korea -0.56 -2.90 <.KS -1.52 10.38 11> Singapore +0.01 -0.59 <.ST -1.21 10.89 I> Taiwan +0.01 +1.24 <.TW -0.70 16.76 II> Thailand -0.10 -4.28 <.SE -0.01 9.01 TI> (Reporting by Harish Sridharan in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)