EMERGING MARKETS-Philippine stocks hit 4 month high on bullish data

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    * Indonesia announces restrictions to combat virus
    * Thailand opens Phuket to vaccinated tourists
    * Graphic: World FX rates tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E
    * Asian stock markets: tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4

    By Soumyajit Saha
    July 1 (Reuters) - Philippine stocks rose to their highest
in more than four months on Thursday, boosted by upbeat data
that showed a decline in unemployment and an expansion in
manufacturing activity.
    The Manila index jumped nearly 1.5% — its biggest
gain in over three weeks — after the statistics bureau said here
 unemployment had slipped to 7.7% in May, the lowest since
March.
    The IHS Markit June manufacturing PMI (Purchasing Managers'
Index), a measure of economic trends in the manufacturing
sector, rose to 50.8, from 49.9 in May.
    Unemployment had declined as "stricter quarantine measures
were lifted in key cities in the capital," Jennifer Mae V.
Lomboy, a fund manager with First Metro Asset Management said.
    Sentiment was also lifted by "the expansion of manufacturing
PMI recorded in June following two straight months of sub-50
prints", she added.
    However, the Philippines continues to battle a virus
outbreak, as restrictions on movement and businesses in the
capital and nearby provinces were extended this week.

    The spread of the Delta variant of the novel coronavirus and
the U.S. dollar's rise towards three-month highs has prompted
investors to cut long bets across all Asian currencies, a
Reuters poll showed.
    In Indonesia, one of the hardest hit countries, stock
markets ceded some early-session gains after the
country's president confirmed emergency measures, including
tighter movement restrictions, to contain a spike in cases.

    Indonesia also reported a slowdown in annual inflation to
1.33% in June, well below the 2% to 4% target range.
 The rupiah weakened to its lowest in over
two months.
    "We expect (Bank Indonesia) Governor Warjiyo to keep policy
rates at historically low levels... However, recent pressure on
IDR due to anxiety over the virus resurgence will likely prevent
BI from cutting rates further in the near term," Nicholas Mapa,
senior economist at ING said in a note.
    Thai stocks advanced slightly, with the
tourism-reliant economy seeing the reopening of the resort
island of Phuket to vaccinated foreign tourists on Thursday.

    
 HIGHLIGHTS
    
** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are down 1.6 basis points
at 6.614%
** Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc and DMCI Holdings Inc
 among top gainers on the Philippine bourse             
    

  Asia stock indexes and                                       
 currencies at   0535 GMT                                
 COUNTRY      FX RIC         FX     FX    INDEX  STOCKS  STOCKS
                          DAILY  YTD %            DAILY   YTD %
                              %                       %  
 Japan                    -0.03  -7.10            -0.43    4.45
 China                    -0.14  +0.95             0.28    3.69
 India                    -0.07  -1.77            -0.18   12.24
 Indonesia                -0.21  -3.34            -0.09    0.02
 Malaysia                 -0.07  -3.20             0.49   -5.35
 Philippines              -0.54  -2.23             0.90   -2.46
 S.Korea                  -0.58  -4.11            -0.42   14.24
 Singapore                -0.07  -1.87            -0.14    9.93
 Taiwan                   +0.00  +2.20            -0.29   20.17
 Thailand                 +0.09  -6.40             0.22    9.79
 
    
 (Reporting by Soumyajit Saha in Bengaluru; editing by
Uttaresh.V)
  



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