Emerging Markets – Thai stocks, baht drop on reports of Bangkok reopening delayed as Filipino stocks drag in the region

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BANGKOK, Sep 17 (Reuters): The Thai baht and stocks fell on Friday amid reports of a delay in the tourism-dependent nation’s plans to reopen the capital, Bangkok, to international travelers, while other emerging Asian currencies supported a firmer US Dollar came under pressure.

Concerns about regulatory raids in China and the financial problems of debt-ridden developer China Evergrande Group weighed on stocks in the wider Asian region. Shares in the Philippines fell 0.8%, causing losses in the region, while Malaysia and Singapore fell 0.6% and 0.3%, respectively.

Stocks in Thailand fell 0.6% to hit a 3-week low, while the baht was down 0.4%. The Bangkok Post reported Thursday that Thailand’s Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said the city’s reopening to foreigners should be postponed for two weeks as the country tries to vaccinate a larger section of its population.

“Thailand remains under pressure due to a precarious political situation, an uncertain way out of the pandemic and rapidly approaching political borders,” analysts at Mizuho Bank said in a statement.

“Although the headlines of the COVID-19 cases have subsided from their peak, the pandemic situation is still a long way from being under control.”

It was previously planned to allow vaccinated tourists to Bangkok until October 1.

The dollar strengthened after an unexpected surge in U.S. retail sales in August that offset some concerns about growth in the world’s largest economy and signaled that the Fed may opt to slow earlier on its massive, pandemic-fueled stimulus packages.

The South Korean won and the Malaysian ringgit each lost 0.3%. Stocks in China are down nearly 2.5% this week after a series of weaker-than-expected data suggested that growth in the world’s second largest economy would slow in the second half of the year.

Meanwhile, China Evergrande, suffering from lack of money, slumped further to celebrate its worst week ever.

Indian stocks reversed, losing 0.1% after rising as high as 0.9% in early trading and hitting another record high Investors in Indonesia looked to the country’s central bank meeting on the 21st held steady as the economy postponed is gradually reopening after a recent devastating wave of Covid-19. – Reuters


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