Edition:
United Kingdom

Aby Jose Koilparambil

Australian developer LendLease lands $15 billion project with Google; shares surge

3:47am BST

Australia's LendLease Group on Thursday said it secured a contract with Alphabet Inc's Google to develop $15 billion worth of residential and retail space in Silicon Valley, sending the builder's stock to a more than eight-month high.

Rio Tinto hits cost blowout at Mongolia copper expansion

16 Jul 2019

Rio Tinto on Tuesday flagged a cost blowout of up to $1.9 billion and a delay of up to 30 months at its Oyu Tolgoi underground copper mine in Mongolia, the miner's key growth project.

UPDATE 2-Australia's Vocus splits ops into 3 units after suitors balk at entire firm

03 Jul 2019

* Shares fall as much as 6% (Adds analyst comments, share movement)

UPDATE 2-Aussie retirement-home operator Aveo sees annual profit slump, shares fall

24 Jun 2019

June 24 Australian retirement-home operator Aveo Group on Monday said it expects annual profit to more than halve due to weak property market conditions, sending its shares about 14% lower.

Australia's AGL Energy comes back for Vocus with $2.1 bln offer

11 Jun 2019

SYDNEY AGL Energy Ltd took a second tilt at telecoms firm Vocus Group Ltd on Tuesday with a fresh A$3.02 billion ($2.10 billion) offer - just weeks after withdrawing a previous approach - as it looks to cross-sell to its big customer base.

NZ shares inch up in thin trade; U.S.-Mexico deal lends support

10 Jun 2019

June 10 New Zealand shares made slight gains on Monday after the United States called off the imposition of tariffs on Mexico, following a deal to combat illegal migration from Central America, but a holiday in Australia kept trading volumes low.

EM ASIA FX-Most Asian currencies hit by Trump's Mexican move; rupiah rallies on S&P upgrade

31 May 2019

* Chinese yuan worst performing unit in May * Won weakens as much as 0.4% * Falling oil prices support rupee, rupiah (Adds text, updates prices) By Aby Jose Koilparambil May 31 Trade tensions bedevilled global markets again and hurt most of Asian's emerging currencies on Friday, with Washington's shock move to slap tariffs on Mexican goods taking some of the shine off gains for Indonesia's rupiah following a sovereign ratings upgrade. The fears of a global recession only heightened during the day as a survey showed China's factory activity contracted and export orders faltered as the Sino-U.S. trade dispute intensified. Opening a new front in the trade war, U.S. President Donald Trump said Washington will impose a 5% tariff on imports from Mexico from June 10, which would then rise steadily to 25% until illegal immigration across the southern border was stopped. Trump announced the decision on Twitter late Thursday, completely blindsiding markets. "Overall what we are seeing in the markets is familiar concerns over the U.S.-China trade tensions, which have taken a new dimension with the U.S. imposing tariffs on Mexico, while the China manufacturing data reinforces worries about the economy's health," said Sim Moh Siong, forex strategist at Bank of Singapore. The won led the declines in the region, weakening as much as 0.4% and is set to shed about 2% in May for its fourth consecutive monthly loss. The won, the worst regional performing currency this year, bore the brunt of the shock U.S. move on Mexico, a manufacturing hub for some of the South Korean auto majors including Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors. Earlier, South Korea's central bank kept interest rates unchanged for a fourth straight meeting, although pressure to ease monetary policy is growing as global trade friction drags on the export-reliant economy. The Chinese yuan shed up to 0.2% as the weak factory data added to a flurry of weak indicators from the world's No.2 economy which have stoked concerns about a global recession. The yuan is set to weaken for a third straight month, shedding about 2.6% in May, the steepest monthly decline among its peers. On the upside, Indonesia's rupiah gained over 1% after ratings agency S&P raised the country's sovereign credit rating to 'BBB', citing strong economic growth prospects and supportive policy dynamics. The rupiah was also supported by easing oil prices, which benefited other major importers of the commodity in the region such as India and Thailand. India's rupee and the Thai baht tacked on as much as 0.2% and 0.1%, respectively. Crude prices dropped on Friday and were on track for their biggest monthly fall since November as trade conflicts spread and U.S. crude output returned to record levels. The Philippine peso dropped 0.3% and is on track for a 1% loss in May. The Taiwan dollar was down slightly and is set for its steepest monthly fall of 2.2% this year as the tech export-reliant economy came in the firing line after the U.S. targeted Chinese technology firms in May. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Change on the day at 0651 GMT Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 108.910 109.6 +0.63 Sing dlr 1.379 1.3789 +0.00 Taiwan dlr 31.615 31.610 -0.02 Korean won 1190.900 1188.8 -0.18 Baht 31.740 31.79 +0.16 Peso 52.197 52.14 -0.11 Rupiah 14250.000 14395 +1.02 Rupee 69.790 69.87 +0.11 Ringgit 4.193 4.19 -0.07 Yuan 6.907 6.9013 -0.08 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 108.910 109.56 +0.60 Sing dlr 1.379 1.3627 -1.17 Taiwan dlr 31.615 30.733 -2.79 Korean won 1190.900 1115.70 -6.31 Baht 31.740 32.55 +2.55 Peso 52.197 52.47 +0.52 Rupiah 14250.000 14375 +0.88 Rupee 69.790 69.77 -0.03 Ringgit 4.193 4.1300 -1.50 Yuan 6.907 6.8730 -0.49 (Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

EM ASIA FX-S. Korean won, Philippine peso up, but gains checked by trade unease

30 May 2019

* Suspected intervention helps won gain * Peso snaps 3-session losing run * Baht strengthens for 2nd straight day * * (Adds text, updates prices) By Aby Jose Koilparambil May 30 The South Korean won bounced back on Thursday on suspected intervention by foreign exchange authorities, though escalating Sino-U.S. trade tensions curbed investors' appetite for riskier currencies. On Thursday, a Chinese diplomat said that provoking trade disputes is "naked economic terrorism" in comments that stepped up criticism of Washington as the standoff between the two economic heavyweights showed no signs of a quick resolution. While U.S. President Donald Trump this week dampened any hopes of an imminent trade deal, China has hinted that it may use its dominant position as an exporter of rare earths to the United States as leverage in the tariff war. "The trade war continues to see an expansion in scope, with the talk of using rare earths as a weapon for the Chinese really picking up momentum over the past two sessions. This sets a negative backdrop for Asian currencies as a whole," said analysts at OCBC Bank in a research note. As sellers buffeted currencies in several countries including China, South Korea and Malaysia, some officials have issued warnings against disorderly currency market movements. Earlier this week, the Trump administration said nine trade partners required close attention over currency practices and the list included as many as six Asian countries - China, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam. The won rose as much as 0.5% after the country's foreign exchange authorities were suspected to have sold dollars to curb weakness in the currency, several dealers told Reuters. South Korea's central bank reviews policy on Friday and a Reuters poll predicted the Bank of Korea would keep the key rate unchanged despite pressure to ease due to slowing global demand for the country's exports. Another currency which outperformed its peers on the day was the Philippines peso, which added as much as 0.3%, and is set to snap a three-session losing streak. The Chinese yuan tacked on 0.1% but it remains on track for its worst month since July 2018, having shed about 2.5% to the dollar since a flare-up in tensions between Washington and Beijing earlier this month. The Thai baht, the best performing currency so far this year with a gain of about 2.5%, strengthened for a second day. The analysts at OCBC Bank expect some upside for the baht as Thailand could benefit from the recent rebalancing of the MSCI emerging markets index. The Indian rupee and the Singapore dollar gained slightly, while the Taiwan dollar and the Malaysian ringgit weakened a bit. The Indonesian markets were closed on Thursday for a holiday. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Change on the day at 0543 GMT Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 109.700 109.58 -0.11 Sing dlr 1.379 1.3807 +0.12 Taiwan dlr 31.603 31.581 -0.07 Korean won 1188.600 1193.9 +0.45 Baht 31.780 31.8 +0.06 Peso 52.150 52.29 +0.27 Rupee 69.785 69.83 +0.06 Ringgit 4.195 4.192 -0.07 Yuan 6.911 6.9130 +0.03 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 109.700 109.56 -0.13 Sing dlr 1.379 1.3627 -1.18 Taiwan dlr 31.603 30.733 -2.75 Korean won 1188.600 1115.70 -6.13 Baht 31.780 32.55 +2.42 Peso 52.150 52.47 +0.61 Rupee 69.785 69.77 -0.02 Ringgit 4.195 4.1300 -1.55 Yuan 6.911 6.8730 -0.55 (Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

EM ASIA FX-Most currencies drag on poor risk appetite; S. Korean won falls most

29 May 2019

* Won weakens sharply to hit 1-week low * Philippine peso depreciates for 3rd straight day * Indonesian rupiah set to snap 4-session gaining streak * (Adds text, updates prices) By Aby Jose Koilparambil May 29 The South Korean won weakened sharply to hit a one-week low as the possibility of a prolonged Sino-U.S. trade war dampened the risk appetite, putting the regional emerging market currencies back under the pump. After U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday reinforced that the trade war with China was unlikely to be settled anytime soon, a media report said Beijing was "seriously considering" restricting rare earth exports to the United States. Investors are worried whether China would use its dominant position as a supplier of rare earths - chemical elements used in high-tech consumer electronics and military equipment - for leverage in its trade spat with the United States. The escalation in trade tensions, particularly the U.S. targeting Chinese technology firms, has already pushed tech export-oriented Asian economies such as South Korea and Taiwan into a corner. "Trade war is still ongoing at least until the next G20 meeting in Osaka (in June end). With war on trade spreading to technology, the currencies of the trade and tech-linked economies, including the won, yuan, Taiwan dollar and the Singapore dollar could remain on the back foot," said Christopher Wong, a Singapore-based senior forex strategist at Maybank. Besides the won, which slipped as much as 0.7%, the Indonesian rupiah and the Philippine peso, too, saw relatively steeper declines, losing up to 0.4% each. The rupiah is all set to snap an uninterrupted gaining run of four sessions, while the peso weakened for a third successive day. The Chinese yuan, whose stability is key for the regional emerging market currencies, depreciated for a second consecutive session, slipping up to 0.2%. Meanwhile, People's Bank of China reiterated its determination to keep the yuan stable and keeping the fixing on the strong side of 6.90 per dollar. The Trump administration said on Tuesday nine trade partners including China, South Korea and Malaysia, required scrutiny over currency practices. The Malaysian ringgit and the Indian rupee weakened as much as 0.2%, while the Singapore dollar and the Taiwan dollar depreciated slightly. WON'S WOES The won is the worst regional performer, having declined about 7% this year and more than 2% so far in May, en route to its fourth consecutive monthly decline. Won's weakness on Wednesday coincided with a more than 1% fall in the KOSPI stock index due to fund outflows after MSCI said it would increase the weight of China A shares in the emerging markets index. HSBC analysts said in a research note that the Bank of Korea is likely to keep its base rate unchanged at 1.75% at its policy meeting on Friday, and added that the central bank should maintain a cautious stance, given the increased uncertainty in U.S.-China trade tensions. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Change on the day at 0540 GMT Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 109.260 109.36 +0.09 Sing dlr 1.381 1.3794 -0.12 Taiwan dlr 31.514 31.484 -0.10 Korean won 1193.500 1185.8 -0.65 Baht 31.840 31.8 -0.13 Peso 52.360 52.23 -0.25 Rupiah 14425.000 14370 -0.38 Rupee 69.790 69.69 -0.14 Ringgit 4.194 4.187 -0.17 Yuan 6.913 6.9080 -0.07 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 109.260 109.56 +0.27 Sing dlr 1.381 1.3627 -1.33 Taiwan dlr 31.514 30.733 -2.48 Korean won 1193.500 1115.70 -6.52 Baht 31.840 32.55 +2.23 Peso 52.360 52.47 +0.21 Rupiah 14425.000 14375 -0.35 Rupee 69.790 69.77 -0.03 Ringgit 4.194 4.1300 -1.53 Yuan 6.913 6.8730 -0.57 (Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

EM ASIA FX-Most currencies ease on trade war woes, won leads decline

28 May 2019

* Won set to snap 6 sessions of gains * Peso weakens up to 0.3% * Baht gains on surprise April factory output growth (Adds text, updates prices) By Aby Jose Koilparambil May 28 Most Asian currencies weakened on Tuesday after U.S. President Donald Trump reinforced Washington's hard stance in its trade dispute with China, dampening market sentiment. In the absence of any key drivers from U.S. markets, which were shut on Monday for a holiday, emerging Asian currencies fell back on the underlying theme of Sino-U.S. trade tensions that have roiled global financial markets for months. Trump, who is on a visit to Japan, told a news conference in Tokyo that Washington was not ready to make a deal with Beijing but he expected one in the future. "The markets continue to be weighed down by concerns about the trade war as there is no positive news on that front," said Irene Cheung, senior strategist for Asia at ANZ Banking Group (Singapore). Cheung added that economic data from Asia, which is dependent on exports, remains negative and the trade war has caused countries in the region to experience huge outflows. The appreciation of the dollar, which gained 0.2% against a basket of six peers, also put some pressure on the emerging market currencies. The South Korean won led the losers, weakening as much as 0.4% and is set to snap a 6-session winning streak. Analysts at OCBC Bank said in a research note that if the market refocuses on trade issues, the won might "revisit recent lows" as the Bank of Korea was "not expected to put in a hawkish shift" in its monetary policy meeting on Friday. The won is the worst regional performer so far this year, having lost more than 6%. The Philippine peso also declined, losing as much as 0.3%, while the Chinese yuan and the Malaysian ringgit shed up to 0.2% each. The Indian rupee weakened as much as 0.3% after gaining for two straight sessions following the resounding victory of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling party in the general elections, handing him a second term in office. The Singapore dollar and the Taiwan dollar eased slightly. BAHT GAINS Bucking the trend, the Thai baht appreciated slightly before paring gains as the country's April factory output unexpectedly rose 2.03% from a year earlier. Thailand's manufacturing production index for April, which was released on Tuesday, rose unexpectedly, led by higher production of cars and air conditioners. The data compares with a forecast fall of 1.0% in a Reuters and against a revised 2.66% decline in March. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0537 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Japan yen 109.530 109.5 -0.03 Sing dlr 1.377 1.3750 -0.14 Taiwan dlr 31.468 31.450 -0.06 Korean won 1188.500 1184.5 -0.34 Baht 31.790 31.82 +0.09 Peso 52.240 52.15 -0.17 Rupiah 14375.000 14375 +0.00 Rupee 69.643 69.50 -0.21 Ringgit 4.189 4.185 -0.10 Yuan 6.906 6.8974 -0.12 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 109.530 109.56 +0.03 Sing dlr 1.377 1.3627 -1.03 Taiwan dlr 31.468 30.733 -2.34 Korean won 1188.500 1115.70 -6.13 Baht 31.790 32.55 +2.39 Peso 52.240 52.47 +0.44 Rupiah 14375.000 14375 +0.00 Rupee 69.643 69.77 +0.18 Ringgit 4.189 4.1300 -1.41 Yuan 6.906 6.8730 -0.47 (Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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