Asian markets tumble as China COVID unrest sparks sell-off
S. Korean won, Indonesian rupiah top losers
China's yuan weakens up to 1.1%
Thai c.bank to hike interest rate by 25 bps - Reuters poll
By Roushni Nair
Nov 28 (Reuters) - The South Korean won and the Indonesian rupiah were among the top losers in Asian markets on Monday as safe-haven dollar firmed on uncertainty amid protests in China against COVID-19 curbs and its impact on the world's second-largest economy.
The U.S. dollar index =USD traded at 106.41, edging away from its recent three-month low of 105.30, as protests in China triggered a rush towards safe-haven assets, with Chinese yuan CNY=CFXS retreating to an over two-week low against the greenback.
That pressured the Asian emerging currencies, with the South Korean won KRW=KFTC weakening 1.3% to snap a three-day winning streak, while the Indonesian rupiah IDR= fell 0.4% for its biggest percentage loss since Nov. 16.
The Singapore SGD= and Taiwan dollars TWD=TP gave up 0.2% and 0.3%, respectively, while the Philippine peso PHP= slipped 0.1%.
Investor sentiment was also hit by the protests in China - a manufacturing powerhouse and Southeast Asia's top trading partner - that flared for the third day and spread to several cities, with fears of an economic slowdown weighing further.
"Economic data (for China) continues to point to a lower-for-longer growth picture in the face of virus restrictions, ultimately leaving expectations of reopening to be the key driving force for market sentiments," Yeap Jun Rong, market strategist at IG said.
"Rising unrest in China in the form of protests in several cities has translated to greater reopening pressure for authorities but any indications of reopening seem unlikely to be guided in light of current record high cases."
Elsewhere in Southeast Asia, Thailand's baht THB=TH pared early gains to end flat, while stocks .SETI lost 0.2%, with investors cautiously awaiting the country's central bank decision on interest rates due on Wednesday.
The Bank of Thailand will raise interest rates by a modest quarter-point for a third straight meeting amid fragile tourism-reliant growth and signs inflation has started to ease, a Reuters poll of economists found.
Across the region, most stock indexes remained subdued with equities in South Korea .KS11 losing 1.4%, China .SSEC giving up 1.4%, and Taiwan .TWII slipping 1.5%.
However, stocks in India .NSEI and the Philippines .PSI tacked on 0.3% and 0.9%, respectively.
The Philippines' economic growth may ease next year after a likely expansion of more than 7% this year as global risks linger, but it will remain resilient, a top official said on Sunday.
Separately, South Korea's central bank and government rolled out additional support measures for the local credit market, including a 2.5 trillion won ($1.86 billion) repo operation by the Bank of Korea to be carried out in December.
** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields rise 3.6 basis points to 6.979%
** Thai Oct trade deficit at $0.6 bln vs $1.15 bln deficit in poll
** Markets in Malaysia closed for a holiday Asia stock indexes and currencies at
FX FX YTD
INDEX STOCKS STOCKS
DAILY % YTD % Japan
+0.59 -16.78 .N225
-0.42 -2.18 China
-0.66 -11.88 .SSEC
-1.38 -15.96 India
-0.09 -9.08 .NSEI
-0.40 -9.43 .JKSE
- -6.95 .KLSE
- -3.32 Philippines PHP=
-0.12 -10.17 .PSI
0.87 -6.44 S.Korea
-1.27 -11.34 .KS11
-1.32 -19.21 Singapore
-0.20 -2.07 .STI
-0.32 -10.73 .TWII
-1.50 -20.10 Thailand
-0.07 -6.84 .SETI
Graphic: World FX rates Link
Asian stock markets Link
Reporting by Roushni Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips
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