Malaysia stocks hit 5-month high on reopening, China GDP caps stock gains


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Malaysian shares hit a five-month peak on Monday, lifted

by higher oil prices and hopes of further economic reopening, while

below-forecast Chinese growth numbers kept a lid on broader emerging stock

markets.

Kuala Lumpur stocks rose 0.6%, having rallied in recent weeks after

the government announced it would lift travel restrictions for fully vaccinated

residents, and said it was preparing to shift into an endemic COVID-19 phase

where it would no longer impose wide lockdowns.

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Broader stock gains were capped after data showed China’s economy grew at

the slowest pace in a year in the third quarter and by less than expected.

Shanghai equities eased 0.4%, while Singapore and Taiwan

stocks fell 0.1% and 0.3%, respectively. Philippine shares were

flat.

Investors also returned to Malaysian markets as the net oil exporter

benefited from a recent surge in oil prices.

Public Bank Bhd and oil and gas firm Petronas Dagangan

were among the top gainers on the benchmark stock index.

“Kuala Lumpur has risen … as reopening plans gain traction and

commodities, especially energy, remain firm,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market

analyst, Asia Pacific, OANDA.

The ringgit, however, weakened 0.2% on the day, falling along with

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its peers. The Thai baht led losses among Asian currencies as traders

sold it to buy U.S. dollars to purchase gold, analysts said.

The Philippine peso, South Korea’s won and the Singapore

dollar traded between 0.2% and 0.4% weaker against a firmer U.S. dollar

.

Meanwhile, Indonesian shares edged closer to a record high a day

before the central bank is expected to hold rates steady at a monetary policy

meeting.

Economists in a Reuters poll expect Indonesia’s benchmark rate to stay at a

record low of 3.50% until late-2022. The central bank slashed rates by 150 basis

points during the pandemic.

The Thai baht eased 0.6% to 33.470, marking its worst day since

Oct. 6 as it gave up some of the strong gains posted last week.

“As gold prices tanked, some swing traders entered to buy, which is

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contributing to the weakness in the Thai baht,” said Poon Panichpibool, a market

strategist at Krung Thai Bank.

HSBC analysts said a sustainable recovery in the baht was only likely in

2022 given the oil-importing country is currently grappling with rising energy

prices and a trade deficit.

HIGHLIGHTS

** Singapore Sept non-oil domestic exports up 12.3%, beat estimates

** Singapore’s 10-year benchmark yield is up 4.7 basis points at 1.717%

** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are down 6.4 basis points at 6.206%

Asia stock indexes and currencies at

0425 GMT

COUNTRY FX RIC FX DAILY % FX YTD % INDEX STOCKS DAILY % STOCKS YTD %

Japan -0.10 -9.71 -0.29 5.62

China -0.02 +1.42 -0.35 2.50

India +0.00 -2.91 0.85 32.27

Indonesia -0.16 -0.38 0.47 11.46

Malaysia -0.23 -3.49 0.34 -1.45

Philippines -0.28 -5.57 0.13 1.16

S.Korea -0.35 -8.46 -0.21 4.71

Singapore -0.18 -2.18 -0.06 11.54

Taiwan +0.06 +1.69 -0.34 13.51

Thailand -0.57 -10.49 0.31 13.39

(Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

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