SINGAPORE, March 13 — Most South-east Asian stock markets fell today, in line with Asian peers, as investors worried that a higher-than-expected US inflation print would hasten the
Federal Reserve into pressing ahead with a rate increase as early as next week.
Consumer price inflation data for February is due later in the global day, and follows low wage growth numbers last week, which eased concerns about inflation and over a faster pace of rate hikes by the central bank.
Higher US rates reduce the attractiveness of riskier asset classes like equities in growth markets such as South-east Asia, due to the improved yields for safer, US assets.
“It is people being risk-averse ahead of anticipated results (economic data), so not only is it the US inflation report but also China’s production numbers as well as their retail
activity,” said Fio Dejesus, equity research analyst at RCBC Securities in Manila.
Chinese industrial output and retail sales data for February are due tomorrow.
In South-east Asia, Indonesia’s benchmark fell 0.7 per cent on broad-based losses. Telekomunikasi Indonesia lost as much as 1.9 per cent.
An index of the country’s 45 most liquid stocks fell as much as 1 per cent.
Malaysian shares inched lower, with consumer discretionary and telecom stocks dragging down the index.
Genting Malaysia Bhd, down 1.7 per cent, contributed the most to index losses.
The Philippine index fell 0.4 per cent, hurt by weakness in financials and real estate stocks. BDO Unibank Inc slid 2.5 per cent.
Thai shares moved into negative territory after ending higher for the first session in nine yesterday. PTT Pcl weighed the most on the benchmark, slipping 0.4
The Singapore index rose slightly, helped by gains in Capitaland Mall Trust and DBS Group Holdings Ltd, which were up 0.5 per cent and 0.9 per cent, respectively.
Asian shares outside Japan, which surged 1.5 per cent yesterday, were nearly unchanged. — Reuters