for-phone-onlyfor-tablet-portrait-upfor-tablet-landscape-upfor-desktop-upfor-wide-desktop-up

EMERGING MARKETS-Indonesia leads Asian shares lower on virus woes

    * Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore shares down around 1% each
    * Taiwan dlr sheds early gains after COVID-19 alert level raised
    * Thai cenbank says financial system vulnerable to COVID-19 spike
    * Thai cabinet approves $22.3 bln for COVID-19 response

    May 19 (Reuters) - Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore on Wednesday led losses
among Asia's risk-sensitive stock markets, tracking cues from a soft session on
Wall Street, while concerns over a resurgence in COVID-19 cases in the region
also weighed.
    In Jakarta, stocks fell 1.1% to their lowest in 3-1/2 months, while
benchmark indexes in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur dropped nearly 1%
each, as investors trimmed their exposure towards riskier bets.
    "Sentiment is likely to remain cautious as a viral resurgence in parts of
Asia remains on top of traders' minds," Margaret Yang, a DailyFX strategist,
said. 
    The rupiah, favoured by foreign investors seeking to tap Indonesia's
high-yielding debt, weakened 0.3%, unmoved by the soft dollar. Most of Asia's
other emerging currencies flitted between trading flat and slightly higher.
    Taiwan's dollar eased from a one-week high as the island nation
raised its COVID-19 alert level.
    Investors, meanwhile, are awaiting minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's
most recent meeting, due later in the day, which are expected to confirm that
policymakers think a rate hike is still some time away.
    Singapore, Taiwan and Malaysia have imposed coronavirus measures to combat
the health crisis amid worries of more contagious variants, at a time when the
West is seen easing restrictions. 
    Government officials in Indonesia were concerned that mass gatherings during
the Eid holiday could trigger a surge of new cases in the world's fourth-most
populous nation.
    "Asian central banks have generally been held back by the virus situation,"
Duncan Tan, a rates strategist at DBS, said in a client note.
    "We don't think Asia can be expected to deviate from the global policy
normalisation trend for an extended period of time," he added, referring to
other central banks in advanced and emerging economies that are turning less
dovish. 
    Minutes from the Thai central bank's latest meeting showed policymakers
viewed Thailand's financial system as more vulnerable from the latest
coronavirus outbreak, posing significant risks to the economy.
    The Thai cabinet approved a further 700 billion baht ($22.26 billion) of
borrowing on Tuesday to support the government's COVID-19 response.
    Inflationary pressure remains a worry as recent data shows consumer prices
rising in Britain and the United States, though the Fed has thus far stuck to
the narrative that it would be transient and monetary policy should stay
accommodative.
    Markets in South Korea and Hong Kong were closed for holidays. 

    HIGHLIGHTS:
    ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields rise 7 basis points to 6.475%​​
    ** Singapore seeks COVID-19 vaccination for all adults by August
    
  Asia stock indexes and currencies at   0634 GMT
 COUNTRY      FX RIC      FX       FX     INDEX     STOCKS   STOCKS
                          DAILY %  YTD %            DAILY %  YTD %
 Japan                    -0.10    -5.28            -1.28    2.19
 China                    -0.03    +1.58            -0.69    0.91
 India                    +0.12    +0.14            -0.10    7.95
 Indonesia                -0.26    -1.87            -1.09    -3.48
 Malaysia                 +0.02    -2.52            -0.89    -3.07
 Philippines              +0.10    +0.44            0.02     -12.52
 S.Korea                  -        -3.92            -        10.43
 Singapore                +0.03    -0.61            -0.75    9.68
 Taiwan                   +0.10    +2.00            -0.08    9.50
 Thailand                 +0.19    -4.53            -0.23    7.86
 ($1 = 31.4400 baht)

 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and
Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
  
for-phone-onlyfor-tablet-portrait-upfor-tablet-landscape-upfor-desktop-upfor-wide-desktop-up