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Philippine shares reverse losses, lead region higher on global recovery bets

Monday, March 29, 2021, 14:04 GMT+7
Philippine shares reverse losses, lead region higher on global recovery bets
A man wearing a protective mask sits outside the Philippine Stock Exchange at the central business district as the government implements an 'enhanced community quarantine' in the country’s main island Luzon to contain the coronavirus, in Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines, March 17, 2020. Photo: Reuters

The Philippines reversed early losses to rise more than 1% on Monday, leading gains across Asia's emerging stock markets after Wall Street ended last week with strong gains on bets for a faster economic recovery.

Stricter COVID-19 restrictions in Manila for this week initially sent shares down 1.7%. But they were lifted as investors await details of a proposed U.S. fiscal spending package that could spur the global economy.

Stocks in Taiwan, Vietnam and Thailand climbed around 1%.

"The positive sentiment should lift regional shares today," said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets and Stockbroking.

Inflation concerns remained, however, and the dollar held firm with 10-year Treasury yields still elevated, keeping pressure on Asia's risk-sensitive and higher-yielding currencies.

The Malaysian ringgit was little changed, while the yield on its benchmark 10-year bonds was marginally off ahead of the FTSE Russel decision on whether Malaysian debt will stay in the government bond index.

OCBC Bank expects Malaysia to stay in the index and be removed from the watchlist, which it says will see sentiment for bonds improve at the margin.

A surprise removal could prompt outflows.

In other news, Malaysian exports in February rose a higher-than-expected 17.6% on shipments of electrical and electronic goods as well as commodity-based products.

Vietnam shares rose after data showed the economy grew 4.5% in the first quarter, supported by robust exports.

"Vietnam's growth prospects will continue to outshine regional peers," Mizuho Bank said in a note.

The southeast Asian nation has been successful in controlling the spread of COVID-19 through stringent measures, which have helped it reopen its economy earlier than most other regional peers.

Indian markets were closed for a public holiday.



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