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EMERGING MARKETS-Asian stocks, currencies fall ahead of U.S. Fed outcome; rupiah falls most

    * Indonesia, Taiwan central banks meet on Thursday
    * Bank Indonesia seen keeping rates at record low
    * Strong export data shields Singapore equities from deeper
losses

    March 17 (Reuters) - Indonesia's rupiah led a slide in
Asia's emerging currencies on Wednesday ahead of the outcome of
the Federal Reserve policy meeting, which will be closely
watched for its timeline on an interest rate hike.
    Stocks in Asia declined around half a percent, with Seoul
 and Tapei down slightly more.
    If the Fed does not address worries about a rise in yields
and a likely uptick in inflation, it could potentially sap the
appetite for the region's higher-yielding emerging markets,
market participants said.
    Worries of capital outflows in emerging markets have been
rife due to the rising U.S. yields, prompting most Asian central
banks to reaffirm support for bond markets and spell out their
level of tolerance towards potential spikes in inflation. 
    The yield on 10-year Treasuries was at 1.63%,
hovering around 13-month highs, in the run up to the conclusion
of the meeting, which will happen on Thursday morning Asia
hours. 
    "I don't think there'll be a pushback against higher yields.
We could see a risk that the dot-plot for 2023 will show a hike,
but I think Chair Jerome Powell is going to downplay the
significance of the dot-plot," said Sim Moh Siong, FX Strategist
at Bank of Singapore.
    The "dot plot" is a chart showing Fed Governors'
expectations for future interest rates. 
    "The market has more or less priced-in the likelihood that
they could show a dot-plot of one hike. If it remains unchanged
for 2023, it will send a very dovish signal."
    Indonesia's rupiah, which backs some of emerging
markets' highest-yielding debt, fell 0.3%, while stocks
were down half a percent. The country's central bank will meet
later on Thursday where rates are expected to be left unchanged.

    The rupiah has lost nearly 4% since Feb. 16 as U.S. bond
yields began to rise. The yield on benchmark 10-year bonds 
 were slightly higher on Wednesday. 
    Analysts at OCBC said they do not expect Asian central banks
to rush to hike rates ahead of the Fed, saying the markets'
near-term rate hike pricings seemed aggressive as U.S. rates
would likely stay unchanged till end-2022 at least.
    Meanwhile, in Singapore, stocks gained edged higher
after the city-state reported an 8.2% month-over-month rise in
its February non-oil exports, which handily beat expectations.

    In the Philippines, shares also edged higher,
extending their gains after a sharp drop on Monday when worries
that rising COVID-1 cases would deal a fresh blow to the
country's economic prospects. 
        
    HIGHLIGHTS:
    ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields up 2.19 basis points
at 6.769%
    ** Akbar Indo Makmur Stimec Tbk PT and Bank
Ganesha Tbk PT fell 7% each 
  Asia stock indexes and currencies at   0712 GMT
 COUNTRY      FX RIC      FX       FX     INDEX    STOCKS   STOCKS
                          DAILY %  YTD %           DAILY %  YTD %
 Japan                    -0.14    -5.40           -0.02    9.00
 China                    +0.07    +0.41           -0.03    -0.79
 India                    -0.04    +0.67           -0.33    6.28
 Indonesia                -0.28    -2.77           -0.45    5.06
 Malaysia                 -0.12    -2.36           -0.35    -0.55
 Philippines              -0.18    -1.42           0.12     -8.02
 S.Korea                  -0.04    -3.89           -0.64    6.06
 Singapore                -0.07    -1.85           0.14     9.35
 Taiwan                   -0.08    +0.70           -0.60    10.07
 Thailand                 -0.16    -2.73           -0.11    7.79
 
 (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok, Nikhil Subba and Nikhil Kurian
Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Arun
Koyyur)
  
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