Global inflation woes hurt Asian stocks and currencies; Taiwan markets dip
BENGALURU (June 1): Emerging Asian equities traded mixed and currencies fell on Wednesday, hurt by a firm US dollar and rising Treasury yields, with Taiwan underperforming on declining economic growth.
The greenback rose to a two-week high versus the yen, lifted by higher Treasury yields as global inflation worries flared anew, after data showed euro-area consumer inflation soared to a record.
“The data will seem to translate into greater pressure for the ECB (European Central Bank) to tighten rates by a larger 50 basis-point hike in July’s meeting,” Yeap Jun Rong, market strategist at IG, said.
“Markets are more concerned about the sticky inflation narrative,” said Stephen Innes, managing partner with SPI Asset Management.
Currencies fell in Asia, with Taiwan’s dollar leading losses, slipping as much as 0.8% in its worst session since March 2020. Taiwan central bank on Tuesday flagged declining economic growth and high inflation, causing its stocks to dip nearly 1%.
Singapore’s dollar and the Malaysian ringgit fell 0.2% each, while the Thai baht slipped 0.1%.
In contrast, the Indian rupee, the only gainer among currencies, was 0.2% firmer.
India’s economic growth slowed to the lowest in a year in the first three months of 2022, data showed on Tuesday.
Analysts at Nomura said, “We believe the current recovery is unsustainable, owing to higher inflation, tighter monetary policy and global growth slowdown.”
Oil prices rose in early Asian trade after European Union leaders agreed to a partial and phased ban on Russian oil and China ended its Covid-19 lockdown in Shanghai.
“Higher energy prices are a massive headache for central banks worrying about inflation expectations … and (emerging markets) investors are weighing the impact on current account and fiscal balances of oil-importing economies,” Innes said.
Equity markets pared some gains in the later half of the session. Stocks in Malaysia and the Philippines dropped nearly 1%.
Malaysian palm oil futures slipped on Wednesday on anticipation of higher global supply, as top producer Indonesia prepares to resume exports of the commodity.
Singapore was the sole gainer in the region, up 0.4%, while Indian stocks reversed course to drop 0.1%.
Trading was thin in Asia on account of market closures in South Korea and Indonesia due to public holidays. Investor focus will largely be on US jobs and unemployment data later this week.
- Singapore’s five-year benchmark yield is up 5 basis points at 2.539%
- Top gainers on the Straits Times index: Hongkong Land Holdings up 3.88%, Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Holdings up 2.16%, Genting Singapore up 1.92%
- China’s yuan fell 0.2%, while shares were down 0.1%