Philippine and South Korean stocks led most emerging Asian equity markets lower on Thursday as high inflation data from the United States stoked fears of policy tightening, while a strong dollar kept the region's currencies on the backfoot.
The South Korean won eased 0.4% to lead falls among currencies, and was at its weakest in over three weeks, as the greenback stood at its highest levels of the year.
Overnight data showed that US consumer prices in October gained the most in 31 years, strengthening the case for the Federal Reserve to hike rates even as a majority of Asian central backs stick to accommodative settings.
Singapore stocks fell as much as 0.7%, but pared losses and were trading flat by 0442 GMT. Transport firm Comfortdelgro was the top loser, dropping nearly 4% after it halted plans for an initial public offering of its Australian unit.
"(US inflation) can lead to slowdown in Singapore economic growth in the coming quarters due to Singapore's significant reliance on overseas imported raw materials," said Kelvin Wong, a market analyst with CMC Markets.
Indonesian stocks hit a record high early in the session, but pared gains and were down just 0.04% by 0442 GMT.
Thai stocks edged lower, mostly dragged down by heavyweight petroleum exploration firms.
"Foreign investors are waiting to buy the dip if it falls further gold prices also moved up, that limited the Thai baht's weakness " said Poon Panichpibool, a market strategist at Krung Thai Bank.
In addition, an overnight plunge in oil prices was weighing on Thai equities, Panichpibool said. Among currencies, the Thai baht, Singapore dollar and Philippine peso fell between 0.1% and 0.4%
**Singapore's 10-year benchmark yield is up 5 basis points at 1.777%
**Malaysia's 10-year benchmark yield is up 1.3 basis points at 3.529%
**Petroleum explorers PTT Exploration and Production Pcl and PTT Pcl weigh on Thai stock benchmark