* Thai May consumer prices rise at faster-than-expected pace * Malaysia and South Korea markets closed for public holiday * Oil prices climb above $120 per barrel By Tejaswi Marthi June 6 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies were mixed on Monday as markets looked to U.S. inflation data later this week while the Thai baht fell ahead of a central bank meeting where rates are likely to stay on hold. The Bank of Thailand (BOT) is expected to leave interest rates unchanged when they meet on Wednesday despite red-hot inflation, which accelerated at a much faster pace than expected in May. A Reuters poll found that Thailand's central bank will leave interest rates unchanged at record lows for the rest of the year to support economic recovery, despite the consumer price index rising past the BOT's range of 1% to 3%. [nL4N2XQ0FU] The Thai baht
fell 0.1% after the tourism-reliant economy's core inflation rose 2.28% for May, slightly higher than the 2.2% predicted in a Reuters poll. Headline inflation of 7.1% for the same period, however, far exceeded forecast of 5.78%. [nLUN2V200Y] "While the baht faces further depreciation pressure from a worsening real policy rate differential with the Fed, the BOT's hands remain tied by the still nascent tourism recovery," analysts at Mizuho Bank said in a note. Stocks in the region were off to a muted start, with Indonesia's <.JKSE> slipping 1.5% to lead losses and marking its worst session in nearly three weeks followed by a 0.4% drop in Singapore stocks <.STI>. Equities in Philippines and Thailand also fell. In contrast, Japan's Nikkei <.N226> was up 0.7%, underpinned by a rise in Chinese equities and U.S. stock futures. The rupiah , which rose last Friday after the country lifted its ban on palm oil shipments, fell 0.2%. Indonesia, the world's biggest palm oil producer, has issued around 302,000 tonnes of palm oil export permits since the country restarted exports after halting it for three weeks in efforts to control soaring prices at home. [nL1N2XT02R] Global markets are turning their focus to the U.S. consumer price report on Friday. Forecasts are for a steep 0.7% rise in May, though the annual pace is seen holding at 8.3% while core inflation is seen slowing a little to 5.9%. [MKTS/GLOB] "The Fed is set to hike interest rates by 50 basis points at both its June and July meetings, and probably also in September, as it looks to bring uncomfortably high inflation back to its 2% price stability target," analysts at Australia and New Zealand Banking Group said in a note. Oil prices firmed after Saudi Arabia raised prices sharply for its crude sales in July, a reflection of how tight supply is even after OPEC+ agreed to accelerate its output increases over the next two months. [O/R] "OPEC producers have been struggling to increase output even as curbs have been relaxed and output ceiling has been raised," analysts at Mizuho bank wrote, adding, "global energy inflation is likely to remain worked up by sticky oil prices, which threatens to amplify pain for EM Asia." HIGHLIGHTS: ** Top losers on Jakarta SE Composite Index are Gaya Abadi Sempurna down 7%, followed by Indah Prakasa Sentosa and Bukit Asam down 6.9% and 6.3%, respectively ** China's services activity contracted for a third straight month in May, pointing to a slow recovery ahead [ZRN004IT9] ** Indonesia's 10-year benchmark yields fell 41 basis points to 6.955% ** Singapore's 10-year benchmark yield fell marginally to 2.827% Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0428 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDE STOCKS STOCKS DAILY % YTD % X DAILY YTD % % Japan +0.17 -11.9 <.N2 0.70 -2.90 1 25> China EC> India -0.04 -4.28 <.NS -0.64 -5.05 EI> Indonesi -0.21 -1.49 <.JK -1.56 7.44 a SE> Philippi +0.02 -3.59 <.PS -0.56 -5.88 nes I> Singapor +0.09 -1.85 <.ST -0.13 3.47 e I> Taiwan -0.12 -5.89 <.TW 0.52 -8.67 II> Thailand -0.07 -2.84 <.SE -0.31 -0.91 TI> (Reporting by Tejaswi Marthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Jacqueline Wong) (([email protected])) Keywords: EMERGING MARKETS/ASIA
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.