Stock markets across the region were broadly lower on Friday, with Malaysia leading declines, as several analysts pointed to investors locking in gains ahead of the holiday season in anticipation of thinner market liquidity.
Indian shares eased from record highs, dragged down by weakness among banking stocks.
The won closed at a two-week low as more COVID-19 cases in South Korea sapped risk appetite, while profit-taking ahead of the holiday season put Malaysian shares on course for their first weekly loss in seven weeks.
Asian currencies were largely subdued in the afternoon trade as the dollar took a breather after plunging close to a 2-1/2-year lows this week. The Philippine peso, Malaysian ringgit, Indian rupee and Indonesian rupiah all traded flat to lower.
The won weakened 0.6 percent against the dollar and was the sole regional currency set to register a weekly fall, as South Korea reported its second-highest daily tally for new coroanvirus cases.
“The near-term outlook for KRW remains contingent on how well South Korea can contain the latest wave of domestic COVID-19 cases. Still, a dampened won might ensure the nation’s exports remain competitive,” said Han Tan, market analyst at FXTM.
The Singapore dollar slipped from two-year highs hit on Thursday, while the Thai baht leapt to a seven-year peak, hovering below the psychological 30 per dollar mark during the day.