Asian stocks drop as weak China data rekindle growth woes
* Weaker China data hurts equities in EM Asia
* Singapore stocks fall 0.8% to hit 2-week low
* India's Nifty 50 hits record high
By Harish Sridharan
Sept 15 (Reuters) - Most shares in Asian emerging markets fell on Wednesday, as a raft of subdued data from China, indicating slowing economic activity in the world's second largest economy, raised concerns over a global recovery and an aversion towards riskier assets.
Singapore stocks .STI led losses in the broader region, dropping 0.8% to hit a two-week low, after the city-state on Tuesday reported its highest number of COVID-19 cases since August last year.
A recent rise in cases after relaxation of some COVID-19 measures has prompted the city-state to pause on further reopening.
"Given that eventual policy objective is for COVID-19 to be endemic in society, we expect stronger policy resistance this time round against going back to lockdowns," Maybank analysts said in a note.
China's factory and retail sectors faltered in August with output and sales growth hitting one-year lows as fresh coronavirus outbreaks and supply disruptions threatened the country's impressive economic recovery.
"Slowing China activity has a knock-on effect across the region," said Mitul Kotecha, chief EM Asia & Europe strategist at TD Securities.
"This just exacerbates global concerns about weakening economic activity... that we are past peak growth and moderation in activity is now intensifying."
Separately, China's Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development told major banks that cash-strapped real estate giant Evergrande 3333.HK won't be able to make loan interest payments due Sept. 20, Bloomberg News reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
China shares .SSEC slipped 0.3%, while Taiwan .TWII , Philippines .PSI and Indonesia .JKSE also fell.
Currencies in the region were largely subdued and traded sideways against a flat dollar, after softer-than-expected U.S. inflation data raised doubts about the U.S Federal Reserve's taper timeline.
U.S. data on Tuesday showed that consumer price index rose less than expected in August. Lower inflation suggests that the Fed will be under less pressure to begin trimming its vast asset purchases soon.
Bucking the trend, South Korean shares .KS11 gained on Wednesday, after data showed unemployment rate for August fell to a record low.
India's blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index .NSEI hit an all-time high, boosted by gains in energy, automobile and telecom stocks.
** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields up 1 basis point at 6.181%
** Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd JARD.SI , down 2.19%, top loser on Singapore STI .STI
Asia stock indexes and
currencies at 0708 GMT
INDEX STOCKS STOCK
DAILY YTD %
DAILY S YTD
+0.13 -5.74 .N225
-0.52 11.18 China
+0.00 +1.40 .SSEC
-0.25 5.19 India
+0.05 -0.78 .NSEI
0.51 24.93 Indonesia
+0.04 -1.40 .JKSE
-0.28 2.23 Malaysia
+0.07 -3.30 .KLSE
-0.09 -4.49 Philippines PHP=
-0.09 -3.62 .PSI
-0.58 -3.63 S.Korea
+0.03 -7.20 .KS11
0.15 9.74 Singapore
+0.09 -1.60 .STI
-0.79 7.46 Taiwan
+0.22 +3.01 .TWII
-0.46 17.79 Thailand
+0.21 -8.80 .SETI
Graphic: World FX rates Link
Asian stock markets Link
Reporting by Harish Sridharan in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi
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