Asian markets saw a day of slow moves on Monday as most major markets in the region, including the Nikkei and Hang Seng, remained shut for holidays.

Chinese, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korean markets were closed for the Lunar New Year, while Japan was also shut for National Day.

That kept emerging Asian currencies and equities subdued with light volumes, while focus was on elections in Indonesia and the Philippine central bank’s policy decision due this week.


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It’s also a public holiday for Lunar New Year in New York State for the first time. US stock futures were barely changed early on Monday.

All eyes will now be on the US consumer price report for January, which is expected on Tuesday. The data will refine wagers on whether the Federal Reserve cuts in March or May.


India the only major market open for trading

India was the only major Asian index open for trade, meanwhile. The NSE Nifty 50 index ended lower by 0.76% at 21,616.05, while the S&P BSE Sensex settled 0.73% lower at 71,072.49.

Markets remained weighed down by broad-based profit booking, while small- and mid-caps extended their slide on rising concerns over high valuations.

“This is another bout of profit booking and it was always on the anvil,” said Siddharth Sedani, head of equity product and advisory support at Anand Rathi Financial Services, adding that the “RBI’s decision to not relax its monetary policy stance also disappointed markets.”

Eleven of India’s 13 major sectors declined on Monday. The energy index, the third-heaviest sector, dropped 2.4%, while Public sector banks dropped 4.4%. Investors await India’s inflation reading, due later on Monday.


Emerging markets FX, stocks steady

Elsewhere in Asia, stocks in Manila also retreated and the Philippine peso fell 0.3%.

Meanwhile, Bangkok’s SET Composite closed a tad higher. The Indonesian rupiah also inched 0.1% higher and stocks in Jakarta rose as much as 0.7% to a one-month high.

Indonesia is set to hold simultaneous presidential and legislative elections on Wednesday, where citizens will choose a new president and vice president, a parliament, and lawmakers among 20,000 administrative posts across the country.

Taiwan and Malaysia were closed for the Lunar New Year.

The Indian rupee ended little changed on Monday as an uptick in the dollar index eroded the local currency’s early gains which were aided by mild dollar sales from foreign and local private banks, traders said.

The rupee ended at 83.0025 against the US dollar, barely changed from 83.0350 in the previous session. The currency hovered in a tight range between 82.9825 and 83.0250 during the day.

The dollar index ticked higher to 104.18, while the offshore Chinese yuan strengthened slightly.

Inflation data due both in India and the United States is likely to be a key driver for markets in the near term with the latter seen as the more significant cue for the rupee.


Key figures

Tokyo – Nikkei 225 <> CLOSED

Hong Kong – Hang Seng Index <> CLOSED

Shanghai – Composite <> CLOSED

London – FTSE 100 > DOWN 0.18% at 7,558.89 (1200 GMT)

New York – Dow > DOWN 0.14% at 38,671.69 (Friday close)


  • Reuters, with additional editing by Vishakha Saxena


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Vishakha Saxena

Vishakha Saxena is the Multimedia and Social Media Editor at Asia Financial. She has worked as a digital journalist since 2013, and is an experienced writer and multimedia producer. As a trader and investor, she is keenly interested in new economy, emerging markets and the intersections of finance and society. You can write to her at [email protected]

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