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EMERGING MARKETS-Tech sell-off hurts S.Korea stocks; most Asian FX fall on rising bond yields

Shruti Sonal
·3-min read

* Asian stock markets: https://tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4 * South Korean benchmark hits over 2-month low * Indonesia's 10-year benchmark yield scales a 5-month high By Shruti Sonal March 9 (Reuters) - South Korean shares fell as much as 2% on Tuesday, as heavyweight technology stocks tracked an overnight sell-off in their Wall Street peers, while rising bond yields hurt appetite for most emerging Asian currencies. South Korea's benchmark KOSPI fell for a fourth straight session, hitting its lowest in over two months. Samsung Electronics slipped 1.5% and peer SK Hynix dropped 3.3%, in tandem with a sell-off in technology-related shares which pushed the Nasdaq into correction territory - down 20% from its peak - on Monday. Most regional currencies weakened against the dollar, as the greenback held near a 3-1/2-month high, on the back of higher bond yields and expectations of faster economic recovery from the pandemic in the United States. MSCI's emerging market currency index dropped to a three-month low, with high-yielding currencies hit hard. "Export-led Asian currencies have not taken kindly to prospects of a more normalised global economy paved by vaccinations", DBS Bank analysts said in a note. The South Korean won and Malaysian ringgit fell 0.5% each, while the Indonesian rupiah shed 0.4%. Bond yields in the region scaled new peaks, as investors continued to find refuge in the higher yields and relative stability offered by Asian junk-rated debt. Indonesia's 10-year benchmark yield hit a 5-month high, while its Malaysian counterpart hits its highest levels in a nearly a year. Foreign investors have bought a net $41.5 billion of Chinese bonds since the start of 2021, already about a third of what they did in all of last year. Inflows into other emerging Asia bond markets this year are $2.8 billion, or 61% of last year's total. On the equities front, the trade-reliant Singapore bourse climbed over 1%, while India and Malaysia added about 0.8% each. Positive cues from U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen aided sentiment. Yellen said on Monday that U.S. President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package would provide enough resources to fuel a "very strong" U.S. economic recovery. Highlights: ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are up 6 basis points at 6.817% ** Top gainers on the Singapore STI include Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd, Hongkong Land Holdings Ltd , Comfortdelgro Corporation Ltd ** Indonesia approves AstraZeneca vaccine for emergency use Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0431 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX YTD INDEX STOCKS STOCKS DAILY % DAILY YTD % % % Japan -0.25 -5.40 <.N22 0.96 5.74 5> China C> India +0.14 -0.12 <.NSE 0.82 7.84 I> Indones -0.35 -2.50 <.JKS -0.13 4.37 ia E> Malaysi -0.46 -2.52 <.KLS 0.79 -0.16 a E> Philipp +0.40 -1.08 <.PSI 0.06 -5.31 ines > S.Korea 1> Singapo +0.01 -2.13 <.STI 1.27 9.36 re > Taiwan -0.18 +0.45 <.TWI -0.08 7.29 I> Thailan -0.26 -2.88 <.SET 0.00 6.52 d I> (Reporting by Shruti Sonal in Bengaluru; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)