Edition:
United Kingdom

Aby Jose Koilparambil

EM ASIA FX-Thai baht hit by weak GDP data; yuan up as US eases curbs on Huawei

6:59am BST

* Thai baht hits near 2-week low * Chinese yuan, Philippine peso, Korean won appreciate * Singapore dollar capped as Q1 growth slips (Adds text, updates prices) By Aby Jose Koilparambil May 21 The Thai baht on Tuesday slipped to its weakest level in nearly two weeks on soft economic data, underperforming most of its counterparts which were relieved by Washington's decision to ease some of its restrictions on Chinese telecoms giant Huawei. But the underlying tone in markets remained cautious as the trade war between the United States and China showed no signs of easing, with the broad impact filtering through to many economies. The trade-dependent Thai economy, the latest to show the effects of the trade tensions and cooling global demand, grew at its slowest annual pace in more than four years in the first quarter, hurt by softer exports. Southeast Asia's second-largest economy expanded 2.8% from a year earlier, missing the 3.0% forecast in a Reuters poll. The baht weakened as much as 0.5% to 31.890 against the U.S. dollar, though it remains the best regional performer this year, gaining more than 2%. "Today's GDP print affirms recent signs that growth in Thailand is on a clear downswing... Structural weakness in vehicle demand globally and a cyclical downturn in the semiconductor sector poses continued external headwinds for Thailand's manufacturing sector," said Noelan Arbis, economist at HSBC Global Research, in a note. Currency markets in Asia took some comfort after Washington temporarily eased restrictions imposed last week on Huawei, a move aimed at minimizing disruption for its customers. The Chinese yuan gained by as much as 0.2% on the day. The currency has fallen about 2.5% since U.S. President Donald Trump said on May 5 he will raise tariffs on $200 billion of imports from China to 25% from 10%, deepening a rift between the two economic superpowers. Among other gainers, the Philippine peso and the South Korean won strengthened 0.2% each, while the Indian rupee rose slightly. The Indonesian rupiah weakened a bit on a day when incumbent President Joko Widodo was declared winner in last month's election, amid claims of widespread cheating by opposition. SINGAPORE DOLLAR The Singapore dollar was little changed, not helped by data showing the city-state's annual economic growth slipped to the lowest in nearly a decade in the first quarter. That prompted the government to downgrade its full-year growth forecast. Gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 1.2% year-on-year in the three months ended March 31, down slightly from the 1.3% seen in the government's advance estimate and the fourth quarter's revised 1.3% pace. The result, which was below the 1.5% growth forecast in a Reuters poll, marked the slowest annual expansion for any quarter since April-June 2009. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0524 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Japan yen 110.150 110.05 -0.09 Sing dlr 1.376 1.3763 -0.01 Taiwan dlr 31.429 31.385 -0.14 Korean won 1193.400 1194.2 +0.07 Baht 31.870 31.72 -0.47 Peso 52.564 52.626 +0.12 Rupiah 14470.000 14450 -0.14 Rupee 69.750 69.74 -0.02 Ringgit 4.184 4.175 -0.22 Yuan 6.903 6.9133 +0.15 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 110.150 109.56 -0.54 Sing dlr 1.376 1.3627 -1.00 Taiwan dlr 31.429 30.733 -2.21 Korean won 1193.400 1115.70 -6.51 Baht 31.870 32.55 +2.13 Peso 52.564 52.47 -0.18 Rupiah 14470.000 14375 -0.66 Rupee 69.750 69.77 +0.03 Ringgit 4.184 4.1300 -1.29 Yuan 6.903 6.8730 -0.44 (Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

Indian rupee surges on exit polls showing easy win for ruling party

20 May 2019

The Indian rupee on Monday strengthened over 1 percent after exit polls suggested the country's just-concluded general election will give a fresh mandate to the coalition led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Yuan bears re-emerge on fresh trade deal woes; short bets on Korean won soar: poll

09 May 2019

A surprise deterioration in U.S.-China trade talks prompted analysts to dramatically turn bearish on the Chinese yuan.

EM ASIA FX-Fresh trade salvos hit Asian currencies

06 May 2019

* Yuan falls to weakest level in more than 3 months * Indonesian rupiah weakens up to 0.6 pct (Adds text, updates prices) By Aby Jose Koilparambil May 6 The Chinese yuan led the bloodbath in Asian currency markets on Monday after U.S. President Donald Trump punctured recent optimism around Sino-U.S. trade talks by announcing hikes in tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods. The surprising move from Washington along with Trump's threat of more tariffs dramatically escalated tensions between the world's top two economies, heavily denting risk appetite in Asia. The yuan, resuming trade after three days of holidays last week, slumped about one percent to its weakest level in more than three months. "The market was basically fully priced for a positive outcome on U.S.-China trade talks given the prior positive comments from both sides, hence the sharp fall in yuan this morning," said Jason Daw, Head of Emerging Markets Strategy at Societe Generale. Daw said that the stability in yuan since mid-January was to some extent anchoring the Asia and broader emerging currency market, adding that the tariff news has "thrown a monkey wrench into the yuan anchor theme". Most other Asian units were also roiled by the surprise move with the Indonesian rupiah weakening up to 0.6 percent. The Philippine peso fell as much as 0.6 percent while the Indian rupee slid up to 0.4 percent. The Malaysian ringgit slipped 0.2 percent to its weakest level in more than four months. Thai and South Korean markets were closed for holidays. Most regional currencies came under pressure last week as manufacturing surveys showed factory activity still on shaky ground in many parts of Asia on subdued global demand and with China's stimulus measures yet to show their full pulling power. The central banks of Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand will hold policy meetings during the week, with analysts expecting some to cut rates. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0515 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 110.750 111.09 +0.31 Sing dlr 1.364 1.3603 -0.24 Taiwan dlr 30.925 30.907 -0.06 Peso 51.960 51.76 -0.38 Rupiah 14325.000 14250 -0.52 Rupee 69.385 69.22 -0.25 Ringgit 4.147 4.141 -0.14 Yuan 6.781 6.7350 -0.68 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 110.750 109.56 -1.07 Sing dlr 1.364 1.3627 -0.07 Taiwan dlr 30.925 30.733 -0.62 Peso 51.960 52.47 +0.98 Rupiah 14325.000 14375 +0.35 Rupee 69.385 69.77 +0.55 Ringgit 4.147 4.1300 -0.41 Yuan 6.781 6.8730 +1.36 (Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam Holmes)

EM ASIA FX-S.Korean won firms on factory survey; Asia trading light

02 May 2019

* Won posts biggest intraday gain in over 10 weeks * China, Japan markets remain closed till next week * Rupiah little changed after April inflation data (Adds text, updates prices) By Aby Jose Koilparambil May 2 The South Korean won strengthened sharply on Thursday while trading remained light across Asia, with the Federal Reserve signalling no appetite to adjust U.S. rates any time soon and two pivotal Asian markets - China and Japan - shut for holidays. The won appreciated as much as 0.6 percent, its biggest intraday percentage gain in more than 10 weeks, on the back of an encouraging factory activity survey. The private survey on Thursday showed South Korea's manufacturing sector snapped five months of contraction, helped by a boost in hiring, and expanded in April. However, in a sign of continued strain, South Korea's exports in April contracted for the fifth straight month on a double-digit drop in memory chips and slowing shipments to China. {nL3N22C0BW] Last week, the won shed over 2 percent on weak domestic data and on Tuesday it fell to its lowest level in more than two years after bearish April readings on China manufacturing activity. Most Asian markets were closed on Wednesday for a holiday. Investors were wary of a slowdown in the South Korean economy and had stacked up bearish bets against the won, a Reuters fortnightly poll showed last week. The Fed on Wednesday held interest rates steady, making some investors conclude the U.S. central bank would remain patient and was not yet ready for a dovish shift. Global risk appetite would be restrained and the Asian markets would trade with a "somewhat more cautious tone" against the backdrop of the U.S. Fed decision and comments, analysts at OCBC Bank said in a note. The Indonesian rupiah was little changed after data showed that the April consumer inflation in Southeast Asia's largest economy picked up more than expected in April, but remained within the central bank's target range. The Indian rupee traded sideways amid muted trading across Asia as investors marked time. Japan financial markets reopen on May 7, and China's ones resume trade on May 6. The Thai baht, the Malaysian ringgit and the Philippine peso weakened slightly on Thursday, while the Singapore dollar and Taiwan dollar rose marginally. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0451 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 111.550 111.37 -0.16 Sing dlr 1.361 1.3615 +0.05 Taiwan dlr 30.889 30.905 +0.05 Korean won 1164.200 1168.2 +0.34 Baht 31.950 31.9125 -0.12 Peso 51.820 51.78 -0.08 Rupiah 14245.000 14245 +0.00 Rupee 69.530 69.56 +0.04 Ringgit 4.135 4.132 -0.07 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 111.550 109.56 -1.78 Sing dlr 1.361 1.3627 +0.14 Taiwan dlr 30.889 30.733 -0.51 Korean won 1164.200 1115.70 -4.17 Baht 31.950 32.55 +1.88 Peso 51.820 52.47 +1.25 Rupiah 14245.000 14375 +0.91 Rupee 69.530 69.77 +0.35 Ringgit 4.135 4.1300 -0.12 (Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

EM ASIA FX-Korean won slips to 2-year low; rupee and peso gain

30 Apr 2019

* S. Korean won weakest in more than 2 years * Peso on track to be best monthly performer * Rupee touches strongest level in a week (Adds text, updates prices) By Aby Jose Koilparambil April 30 South Korea's won fell to its weakest in more than two years on risk aversion after bearish readings on China manufacturing activity on Tuesday, although India's rupee and Philippine peso were resilient on softer oil prices. The won weakened up to 0.5 percent, also dampened by a drop in Samsung Electronics' first-quarter profit. Korea's equities index was also among top losers in the region. The won is set to be the worst performer in the region this month, shedding about 2.5 percent in April and has weakened the most so far this year, dropping 4.2 percent. South Korea's March industrial production fell 2.8 percent from a year earlier, data showed on Tuesday, and the country's exports are expected to contract for the fifth straight month. A global powerhouse for semiconductors and electronic products, South Korea has been especially hard hit by a slump in global tech demand. Data last week showed Asia's fourth-largest economy suffered its worst quarter since the global financial crisis, as investments and exports slumped in response to Sino-U.S. trade tensions and cooling Chinese demand. OIL DIPS The rupee and peso led gains buoyed by a retracement in crude prices which dipped on expectations rising output from the United States and producer club OPEC would offset most of the shortfall expected from U.S. sanctions on Iran. A pullback in oil prices would benefit net importers in Asia including India and Philippines. Bearish Chinese factory and services sector activity in April also weighed on crude prices, traders said, as it suggested Asia's biggest economy is still struggling to regain traction. Factory activity in China expanded for a second straight month in April but at a much slower pace, dousing optimism that a recovery would put a floor under global growth. The Indian rupee gained up to 0.4 percent to its strongest level in a week. The currency, however, has weakened about 1 percent this month due to rising oil prices. The Philippine peso strengthened about 0.3 percent to scale a one-week peak, having gained about 1.3 percent in April and is on track to be the best monthly performer in the region. The Chinese yuan, the Malaysian ringgit and the Singapore dollar weakened slightly while the Thai baht and the Taiwan dollar were little changed. Philip Wee, FX strategist at DBS Group Research, said in a research note that May is likely to be another challenging month for currencies. "Barring negative surprises in this Friday's U.S. monthly jobs report, less attention will be paid to White House pressure on the Fed to cut rates given the better-than-expected U.S. growth and higher oil prices," Wee said. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0546 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 111.520 111.63 +0.10 Sing dlr 1.362 1.3613 -0.07 Taiwan dlr 30.898 30.897 -0.00 Korean won 1164.200 1158.5 -0.49 Baht 31.930 31.92 -0.03 Peso 52.020 52.13 +0.21 Rupiah 14225.000 14195 -0.21 Rupee 69.783 70.01 +0.33 Ringgit 4.134 4.132 -0.05 Yuan 6.738 6.7346 -0.05 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 111.520 109.56 -1.76 Sing dlr 1.362 1.3627 +0.03 Taiwan dlr 30.898 30.733 -0.53 Korean won 1164.200 1115.70 -4.17 Baht 31.930 32.55 +1.94 Peso 52.020 52.47 +0.87 Rupiah 14225.000 14375 +1.05 Rupee 69.783 69.77 -0.02 Ringgit 4.134 4.1300 -0.10 Yuan 6.738 6.8730 +2.01 (Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

EM ASIA FX-S.Korean, Thai currencies firmer as U.S. GDP boosts sentiment

29 Apr 2019

* Won snaps seven-day weakening run * Baht hits strongest level in 1 week * Most other units appreciate marginally (Adds text, updates prices) By Aby Jose Koilparambil April 29 The South Korean won and Thai baht strengthened on Monday as firmer-than-expected U.S. economic growth figures supported risk sentiment, though market holidays and the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting this week are keeping investors cautious. Data on Friday showed U.S. economic growth accelerated in the first quarter, but the burst in growth was driven by a smaller trade deficit and the largest accumulation of unsold merchandise since 2015. "The strong U.S. GDP data failed to push the dollar higher but that is real positive news for riskier assets generally and for equities. The Asian markets are in a holding pattern, awaiting key data," said Khoon Goh, head of Asia research at ANZ. Goh also added that the start of long break in Japanese markets along with a shortened week of trading for all major regional markets has also contributed to subdued markets. The South Korean won snapped seven straight sessions of declines and firmed as much as 0.3 percent to 1,157 per dollar. The won had weakened after data last week showed the economy contracted at a pace last seen during the global financial crisis, as companies slashed investments and exports slumped in response to Sino-U.S. trade tensions and cooling Chinese demand. ANZ's Goh said the South Korean currency was giving back some of the weakness it saw last week. This week, investors await key Chinese manufacturing surveys for April, which will be released on Tuesday with market participants waiting to see if the world's second largest economy sustained momentum after a surprise expansion in March. According to a Reuters poll, China's factory activity likely expanded at a steady but modest clip in April, which would be the second straight month of improved business conditions, as government growth-boosting measures buoy the vast manufacturing sector. Asian markets would likely rally on any signs of growth in the China's manufacturing sector, given the economy's importance as a source of regional export demand. Thailand, a largely export-driven economy, releases its March manufacturing data on Tuesday, while Asia's fourth largest economy South Korea publishes March industrial production and April preliminary trade numbers during the week. The global focus, however, will be on the Fed meeting, held Tuesday and Wednesday. Although no changes to policy settings are expected, investors will be watching for signs of dovish policy inclinations, given the upside surprise in first quarter U.S. economic growth. Another major gainer on the day was Thai baht, which strengthened 0.2 percent to 31.90 against the dollar, its strongest level in a week. The Malaysian ringgit, the Taiwan dollar and the Philippine peso appreciated slightly while the Chinese yuan was little changed. The Indonesian rupiah, however, traded marginally lower. Indian financial markets were closed on the day for a holiday. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0437 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Japan yen 111.590 111.58 -0.01 Sing dlr 1.361 1.3617 +0.08 Taiwan dlr 30.894 30.907 +0.04 Korean won 1157.500 1161 +0.30 Baht 31.890 31.97 +0.25 Peso 52.050 52.06 +0.02 Rupiah 14190.000 14180 -0.07 Ringgit 4.130 4.131 +0.02 Yuan 6.730 6.7300 +0.00 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 111.590 109.56 -1.82 Sing dlr 1.361 1.3627 +0.15 Taiwan dlr 30.894 30.733 -0.52 Korean won 1157.500 1115.70 -3.61 Baht 31.890 32.55 +2.07 Peso 52.050 52.47 +0.81 Rupiah 14190.000 14375 +1.30 Ringgit 4.130 4.1300 +0.00 Yuan 6.730 6.8730 +2.13 (Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam Holmes)

Financials stocks boost Australia benchmark; NZ inches down

18 Apr 2019

April 18 Australia shares rose on Thursday, boosted by financial stocks and positive economic data from China that allayed global growth worries, but broader gains were capped by losses in healthcare stocks, which tracked their Wall Street peers.

Australia shares fall as miners sag; NZ up

17 Apr 2019

April 17 Australia shares struggled in early trade on Wednesday, weighed down mainly by mining stocks, although the losses were capped by gains in financials, which tracked their Wall Street peers.

Australia shares edge up on miners, financials; NZ up

16 Apr 2019

* Rio Tinto rises despite fall in quarterly iron ore shipments

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