Asian Stocks Slip With Ringgit on Plane While Bonds Rise

19-Jul-2014 Intellasia | Bloomberg | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Asian stocks fell, with shares in Kuala Lumpur dropping and the ringgit leading declines among emerging-market currencies after a Malaysia Airlines plane was downed in Ukraine. Bonds in the region rose with oil as Israel sending troops into Gaza added to global geopolitical concerns.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped 0.6 percent by 10:03 a.m. in Tokyo, falling for the first time this week. The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index lost 0.5 percent as Malaysian Airline System Bhd shares tumbled 16 percent. Japan’s Topix gauge slid 1.1 percent, while Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures fell 0.2 percent following the US gauge’s biggest drop in three months. The ringgit weakened 0.4 percent as the Korean won declined. Ten-year bond yields in Australia fell six basis points after touching a one-year low. Oil in New York added 0.5 percent.

Ukraine’s government claimed pro-Russia rebels shot down the passenger jet over disputed territory, killing all 298 people on board. Separatists denied the accusation, blaming the Ukrainian army, as airlines reviewed flight paths over the region. The conflict in the Middle East entered a new phase, with Israel sending soldiers and tanks in to the Gaza Strip in an offensive aimed at stopping missile attacks.

“There’s been a huge escalation of geopolitical risk,” Douglas Gordon, a Seattle-based investment strategist at Russell Investment Group, which has about $280 billion in assets under management, told Bloomberg TV. “There’s a lot of uncertainty that the market has to digest. Markets are going to be very cautious and we’re going to see some flight towards quality.”

Missile Strike

The Boeing Co. 777 was en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam and crashed in the main battleground of Ukraine’s civil war. The incident is stoking tensions just days after the US said rebels were getting weapons from Russia, and after sanctions against the country were tightened. Airlines began shifting planes away from the region, which sits astride some of the busiest air routes between Europe and Asia.

Ukraine’s state security service said it intercepted phone conversations among militants discussing the missile strike, which knocked Flight 17 from the sky near the eastern town of Torez, about 30 kilometers (18 miles) from the Russian border.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Ukraine’s government bore responsibility for the crash because it wouldn’t have occurred without the current strife. Putin has repeatedly denied Russian involvement in the fighting in Ukraine’s east, which erupted in the wake of former president Viktor Yanukovych’s ouster earlier this year.


Category: FinanceAsia

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