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Indonesia rupiah flat, stocks jump ahead of cenbank rate decision

  • South Korea stocks slid 1.2% to a one-week low as daily coronavirus cases rose by another 621, unchanged from a day earlier when it marked the highest level in 39 days.
Published February 18, 2021
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Indonesia's rupiah was little changed while shares rose on Thursday ahead of the country's central bank meeting where chances of an interest rate cut seemed to dim after rising US yields this week dented the currency.

Indonesia bonds were sold off heavily on Wednesday and the rupiah slipped, prompting several analysts to scale back bets of a 25 basis point interest rate cut as the central bank has prioritised currency stability in the past.

The rupiah was steady at 14,010 per dollar after easing 0.6% in the previous session. Stocks jumped 0.9%, after falling the previous day as US benchmark Treasury yields hit a one-year high.

"The necessary condition has always been that there shouldn't be much turmoil in markets, hence, the probability of the cut does go down because of what has been happening," said Arup Raha, head of ASEAN Economics at BNP Paribas.

"However, our official call is that there will be monetary accommodation from Bank Indonesia (BI) over the course of 2021 and this may be one of those meetings where they will cut."

BI should continue to provide a backstop for the purchase of government bonds, he added, stressing on the need for monetary policy to work in tandem with government's fiscal support.

Indonesia financed its 2020 fiscal deficit and COVID-19 stimulus by raising debt, a good portion of which was bought by the central bank.

Other currencies in the region found some support in the dollar's mild losses in Asian trade. The Malaysian ringgit, Singapore dollar and the Philippine peso all rose around 0.1%.

South Korea stocks slid 1.2% to a one-week low as daily coronavirus cases rose by another 621, unchanged from a day earlier when it marked the highest level in 39 days.

China shares rallied up to 2% while the yuan ticked up on resuming trade after a week-long Lunar New year holiday.

Singapore Telecommunications slumped 3% to weigh on the Straits Times Index after the telco reported a privacy breach, which led to data of some consumers being stolen.

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