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Asia, Forex

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 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 won’t be able to make loan interest payments due Sept. 20, Bloomberg News reported, citing people familiar with the matter. China shares slipped 0.3%, while Taiwan, Philippines and Indonesia 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 gained on Wednesday, after data showed unemployment rate for August fell to a record low. India’s blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index hit an all-time high, boosted by gains in energy, automobile and telecom stocks. HIGHLIGHTS ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields up 1 basis point at 6.181%​​ ** Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd, down 2.19%, top loser on Singapore STI Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0708 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDEX STOCKS STOCK DAILY YTD % DAILY S YTD % % % Japan +0.13 -5.74 -0.52 11.18 China +0.00 +1.40 -0.25 5.19 India +0.05 -0.78 0.51 24.93 Indonesia +0.04 -1.40 -0.28 2.23 Malaysia +0.07 -3.30 -0.09 -4.49 Philippines -0.09 -3.62 -0.58 -3.63 S.Korea +0.03 -7.20 0.15 9.74 Singapore +0.09 -1.60 -0.79 7.46 Taiwan +0.22 +3.01 -0.46 17.79 Thailand +0.21 -8.80 0.26 12.33 (Reporting by Harish Sridharan in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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