Philippine shares falter as Covid-19 cases surge

-A +A

(July 17): Philippine shares were set for a second straight weekly drop on Friday following a surge in Covid-19 cases in the country, while the Indonesian rupiah weakened as uncertainty over future monetary policy dented investor sentiment.

After a bout of bargain buying on Thursday, the Manila benchmark index resumed declines to fall nearly 1%, as the country reported its biggest daily spike in coronavirus infections in more than a week.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday retained partial quarantine measures in the capital of Manila for two weeks until the end of July, but warned that stricter curbs would be reinstated if the rise in new cases and deaths did not slow.

Foreign investors dumped Philippine shares worth US$64.7 million as of Thursday, after a US$114.9 million sell-off last week, according to exchange data.

Among Asian currencies, the rupiah was the worst hit, falling to a near two-month low, a day after the central bank cut interest rates for the fourth time this year.

Shares in Jakarta were down about 0.3%.

After reducing its benchmark interest rate to 4%, Bank Indonesia Governor Perry Warjiyo said there would be no inflationary impact from a bond-buying scheme announced earlier this month, while stressing the importance of both fiscal and monetary levers to revive growth.

Some analysts said that pointed to more cuts in rates.

"While the burden sharing scheme could benefit Indonesia's economy, there is fear that the central government wouldn't be able to realise its planned spending," said Anthony Kevin, an economist at Mirae Asset Sekuritas Indonesia.

"This is why market participants were also looking for clues regarding the possibility of another rate cut."

Malaysian stocks were the top performers, advancing over 1%, driven primarily by gains in Top Glove Corp Bhd, the world's largest medical glove maker, which rose 16%.

US Customs on Wednesday placed a detention order on imports of products made by the company's units, but the company said it hoped to resolve the issue in two weeks and the surge in global demand meant it would be able to sell its product elsewhere.

Highlights:

  • Top gainers on FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kl Index include Top Glove (up 15.53% at RM22.76), Hartalega Holdings Bhd(up 5.9% at RM16.52), Hap Seng Consolidated Bhd (up 2.32% at RM8.83)
  • In the Philippines, top index decliners are SM Prime Holdings Inc (down 4.59% at 31.2 peso); Ayala Land Inc (down 3.65% at 31.7 peso); and Metro Pacific Investments Corp (down 2.1% at 3.26 peso)
  • Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are up 1.4 basis points at 7.057%