Edition:
United Kingdom

Aditya Soni

Aussie shares jump, on track for best quarter in nearly 10-yrs; NZ hits record

29 Mar 2019

March 29 Australian shares advanced on Friday, after a firmer finish on Wall Street, as investors hoped for progress in Sino-U.S. trade talks after a report on positive developments.

Australia shares retreat on global growth anxiety; NZ up

28 Mar 2019

* Pilbara soars after announcing commercial production at project

Australia shares near 5-wk lows as growth concerns weigh; NZ at record high

27 Mar 2019

March 27 Australian shares teetered toward five-week lows on Wednesday as concerns about global growth dampened the mood, while financials dropped in the wake of parliamentary questioning of CEOs of two of the country's "Big Four" banks.

Australia shares checked by growth woes, Wesfarmers slides on M&A; NZ up

26 Mar 2019

* Challenger soars on top shareholder's intention to up stake

Aussie shares drop on U.S. recession fears, NZ also falls

25 Mar 2019

March 25 Australian shares neared a four-week low on Monday as investors fled risk-sensitive assets on worries about a looming U.S. recession, but gold stocks gained on safe-haven buying.

EM ASIA FX-Most currencies softer ahead of Sino-U.S. trade clarity

15 Feb 2019

* Rupiah hits 2-week low on wider trade deficit, oil prices * Philippine peso weakens the most * Thai baht bucks regional downtrend (Adds text, updates prices) By Aditya Soni Feb 15 Most Asian currencies ticked lower against the dollar on Friday, with investors cautious ahead of the outcome of Sino-U.S. trade talks and buoyant oil prices weighing on major oil importers. With no decision to extend a March 1 deadline for a deal amid scant signs of progress, markets were in wait-and-see mode ahead of a meeting between the Trump administration's top two negotiators and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing. "The sentiment is a bit wary given that we are seeing mixed signals coming out from the U.S.- China trade talks," Sim Moh Siong, FX strategist at Bank of Singapore said. Losses in emerging Asia were led by the Philippine peso and Indonesian rupiah. Hit by the one-two punch of higher oil prices and a wider than forecast trade deficit in January the rupiah dropped to a two-week low, putting it on track for a weekly loss of 1.2 percent, its biggest since October. Southeast Asia's largest economy, which has been struggling to shrink its trade and current account deficits for months, had a trade gap of $1.16 billion in the first month of 2019, official data showed. The currencies of major oil importers weakened as Brent crude prices hit 2019 highs. The peso and Indian rupee dipped 0.4 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively. Both the peso and rupee, which are among the worst performing Asian currencies so far this year, were headed for a weekly loss. The South Korean won, which is heavily vulnerable to global trade turmoil, slid 0.3 percent to a three-week low. The won's move was in line with the local KOSPI stock index which fell 1 percent. Bucking the trend, the Thai baht the region's best performer so far this year and in 2018, firmed 0.2 percent. Thailand's strong economic fundamentals, which consist of steady exports and domestic production, have made the baht a bastion of stability in Asia. The Chinese yuan, Singapore dollar and Taiwan dollar held a soft tone amid weaker economic fundamentals. Singapore reported its lowest GDP growth in two years on Friday, while Taiwan's government trimmed its 2019 economic growth earlier this week as Asia export-focused economies feel the brunt of slowing global growth and the rippling effects of the long drawn China-U.S. trade war. Meanwhile, China which is also grappling with cooling domestic demand saw its factory-gate inflation slow for a seventh straight month in January to its weakest pace since September 2016, raising concerns the world's second-biggest economy may see the return of deflation. BULLS ADVANCE Bullish positions on most Asian currencies strengthened over the past few weeks, a Reuters poll showed, reflecting newfound optimism that the United States and China would settle their long-drawn trade spat. Long bets on the Chinese yuan, Singapore dollar , Indonesian rupiah and the Thai baht rose substantially, a poll of 12 respondents showed. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0542 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 110.340 110.47 +0.12 Sing dlr 1.358 1.3578 -0.04 Taiwan dlr 30.841 30.833 -0.03 Korean won 1128.200 1125.1 -0.27 Baht 31.290 31.35 +0.19 Peso 52.510 52.28 -0.44 Rupiah 14125.000 14085 -0.28 Rupee 71.320 71.16 -0.22 Ringgit 4.080 4.074 -0.15 Yuan 6.777 6.7718 -0.08 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 110.340 109.56 -0.71 Sing dlr 1.358 1.3627 +0.32 Taiwan dlr 30.841 30.733 -0.35 Korean won 1128.200 1115.70 -1.11 Baht 31.290 32.55 +4.03 Peso 52.510 52.47 -0.08 Rupiah 14125.000 14375 +1.77 Rupee 71.320 69.77 -2.17 Ringgit 4.080 4.1300 +1.23 Yuan 6.777 6.8730 +1.41 (Reporting by Aditya Soni in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Shriya R; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

EM ASIA FX-Emerging Asian units gain on optimism over U.S.-China trade talks

13 Feb 2019

* Indonesian rupiah leads gains among Asian currencies * Malaysian ringgit climbs to over six-month high (Adds text, updates prices) By Aditya Soni Feb 13 Emerging Asian currencies firmed on Wednesday on hopes for resolution of the Sino-U.S trade war after the United States opened the door to extending the 90-day truce that is due to end on March 1. President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he could see letting the deadline for reaching a trade agreement with China slide a little if the two sides were close to a complete deal. Investors responded by buying emerging Asian currencies, which strengthened across the board after softening earlier this week. DBS Group Research said in a note that an extension "could avoid further disruptions to the global economy from a potential increase in US tariffs on Chinese goods". However, DBS warned that an extension "will only be possible if China accedes to US's push for enforcement mechanisms on areas such as forced technology transfer and intellectual property protection". The Indonesian rupiah, the second-best performing Asian currency in 2019, led Wednesday's gains, firming 0.4 percent. The Malaysian ringgit strengthened to its highest since July. The Indian rupee climbed 0.2 percent to a more than one month high. This comes after news consumer prices rose at a milder pace than anticipated, strengthening views that the central bank - which trimmed the key rate on Feb. 7 - could again cut the key interest rate in April. The South Korean won and Singapore dollar, currencies of economies that are exporters of electronics, rose 0.3 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively. The trade war has weighed on exports of both Singapore and South Korea. The city-state's shipments had their worst decline in more than two years in December. The Chinese yuan firmed to a two-week high, while the Thai baht added 0.2 percent. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0532 GMT. Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 110.620 110.48 -0.13 Sing dlr 1.354 1.3560 +0.15 Taiwan dlr 30.816 30.831 +0.05 Korean won 1120.300 1123.9 +0.32 Baht 31.260 31.315 +0.18 Peso 51.940 52.07 +0.25 Rupiah 14015.000 14065 +0.36 Rupee 70.530 70.70 +0.24 Ringgit 4.063 4.077 +0.34 Yuan 6.756 6.7715 +0.23 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 110.620 109.56 -0.96 Sing dlr 1.354 1.3627 +0.64 Taiwan dlr 30.816 30.733 -0.27 Korean won 1120.300 1115.70 -0.41 Baht 31.260 32.55 +4.13 Peso 51.940 52.47 +1.02 Rupiah 14015.000 14375 +2.57 Rupee 70.530 69.77 -1.08 Ringgit 4.063 4.1300 +1.65 Yuan 6.756 6.8730 +1.73 (Reporting by Aditya Soni in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

EM ASIA FX-Asian units move gingerly as US-China trade talk results awaited

12 Feb 2019

* Philippine peso edges up, aided by narrower trade deficit * Strong dollar, higher oil prices dent Indonesian rupiah * Indian rupee rises ahead of January inflation data (Adds text, updates prices) By Aditya Soni Feb 12 Most emerging Asian currencies barely moved on Tuesday, with the dollar remaining firm and many investors steering from risk while waiting to see what comes out of this week's key U.S.-China trade talks. U.S. and Chinese officials expressed hopes that the talks in Beijing, to be joined late this week by top officials, will ease their trade war, and avert a March 1 imposition of higher tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods by Washington. Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research, in a note, said there's a strong consensus favouring an extension of the 90-day "ceasefire" U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to on Dec. 1. However, an extension "with little meaningful progress may now disappoint", it said. Uncertainty on the talks' outcome, coupled with concerns on global growth, kept the safe haven dollar near its 2019 high, following an 0.45 percent jump on Monday. Pressured by strength of the dollar and higher oil prices the Indonesian rupiah dropped as much as 0.3 percent, the day's biggest drop for a regional currency, before paring the loss to 0.1 percent. The Malaysian ringgit and Taiwan dollar both dipped 0.1 percent. The Philippine peso firmed 0.2 percent after reporting the trade deficit narrowed to a three-month low in December as imports tumbled for the first time in a year. The Chinese yuan and Singapore dollar advanced 0.1 percent each. INDIA INFLATION DATA The Indian rupee firmed 0.4 percent ahead of January inflation data due later in the day. A Reuters poll predicted the inflation rate nudged up slightly but remained below the central bank's target for a sixth straight month. DBS Group Research, in a note, said the central bank signalled last week that "benign headline inflation, rather than elevated core, was the key mandate and in so far as prints remain below the target, the panel will have the space to take a growth supportive stance". The Reserve Bank of India on Thursday unexpectedly lowered interest rates and, as anticipated, changed its policy stance to "neutral" to boost a slowing economy. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0544 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Change on the day at 0544 GMT Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 110.570 110.36 -0.19 Sing dlr 1.359 1.3608 +0.13 Taiwan dlr 30.840 30.809 -0.10 Korean won 1123.500 1124.7 +0.11 Baht 31.350 31.35 +0.00 Peso 52.140 52.22 +0.15 Rupiah 14055.000 14035 -0.14 Rupee 70.910 71.17 +0.36 Ringgit 4.075 4.07 -0.12 Yuan 6.785 6.7920 +0.10 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 110.570 109.56 -0.91 Sing dlr 1.359 1.3627 +0.27 Taiwan dlr 30.840 30.733 -0.35 Korean won 1123.500 1115.70 -0.69 Baht 31.350 32.55 +3.83 Peso 52.140 52.47 +0.63 Rupiah 14055.000 14375 +2.28 Rupee 70.910 69.77 -1.61 Ringgit 4.075 4.1300 +1.35 Yuan 6.785 6.8730 +1.30 (Reporting by Aditya Soni in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

EM ASIA FX-Most Asian currencies softer ahead of high level Sino-U.S. trade talks

11 Feb 2019

* Most softer on U.S.-China, global growth worries * Chinese yuan and Indonesian rupiah weaken the most * Philippine peso and Indian rupee benefit from lower oil prices (Adds text, updates prices) By Aditya Soni Feb 11 Most emerging Asian units started the week weaker against the dollar on Monday, as concerns over slackening world growth and a possible resurgence in U.S.-China trade frictions kept investors on the sidelines. With the latest round of high-level talks between U.S. and Chinese officials set to kick-off on Thursday, investors stayed away from risk-sensitive assets and bet on safe-haven dollar. The Indonesian rupiah declined 0.5 percent and was among the top decliners in the region, following data on Friday that showed the country's current account deficit widened to its largest in over four years in 2018's final quarter. A swelling current account deficit has been a cause of concern for Indonesia and partly contributed to the rupiah's plunge in 2018. This has prompted the central bank to hike rates six times by 175 basis points last year, while the government raised import taxes and delayed some big infrastructure projects. Meanwhile, currencies of major oil importers, the Philippine peso and Indian rupee firmed 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively, aided by a drop in crude oil futures . Boosted by the flight to safety bid, the dollar index firmed about 0.1 percent, staying near a six-week high. Expectations of a resolution are low heading into the talks after U.S. President Donald Trump last week said he did not plan to meet with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping before a March 1 deadline to achieve a trade deal. "U.S.-China trade talks over the Valentine's Day will be closely watched for signs of progress. But the reality is that olive branches, rather than rose stalks, are the best that anyone (anchored to reality) may be looking for," Mizuho Bank said in a client note. "The half-empty view, with U.S. trade hawks such as Lighthizer leading trade talks, is that a deal for Trump to sign off will probably elude. But the half-full take on this stalemate alongside lack of Trump-Xi meet-up is that the truce may be extended." The Chinese yuan and Taiwan dollar, both of which began trading after a week-long holiday, weakened 0.6 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively. The South Korean and Malaysian ringgit posted modest losses. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0538 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Change on the day at 0538 GMT Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 109.940 109.72 -0.20 Sing dlr 1.357 1.3563 -0.04 Taiwan dlr 30.830 30.745 -0.28 Korean won 1124.800 1123.9 -0.08 Baht 31.460 31.46 +0.00 Peso 52.010 52.12 +0.21 Rupiah 14035.000 13960 -0.53 Rupee 71.238 71.30 +0.09 Ringgit 4.070 4.067 -0.07 Yuan 6.778 6.7340 -0.64 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 109.940 109.56 -0.35 Sing dlr 1.357 1.3627 +0.43 Taiwan dlr 30.830 30.733 -0.31 Korean won 1124.800 1115.70 -0.81 Baht 31.460 32.55 +3.46 Peso 52.010 52.47 +0.88 Rupiah 14035.000 14375 +2.42 Rupee 71.238 69.77 -2.06 Ringgit 4.070 4.1300 +1.47 Yuan 6.778 6.8730 +1.41 (Editing by Sam Holmes)

EM ASIA FX-Most subdued as trade war, global growth fears darken mood

08 Feb 2019

* Currencies largely muted as dollar propped by safe-haven demand * Baht weakens most; Thai politics in spotlight * Economists see another rate cut by RBI (Adds text, updates prices) By Aditya Soni Feb 8 Most Asian currencies were subdued against a stronger dollar on Friday, weighed by fresh doubts the United States and China can clinch a trade deal before the March 1 deadline and downgrades on global growth. Markets awaiting progress on U.S.-China trade talks were dismayed when President Donald Trump said he did not plan to meet with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping before the deadline to achieve a trade deal. "Market players see less chance of a deal and higher likelihood of more tariffs on China's shipments to the U.S.," Maybank said in a client note. Sentiment was further soured by fears about rampant slowdown in global growth as the European Commission slashed its forecasts for euro zone economic growth this year and next citing trade frictions and domestic challenges. Boosted by demand for safe-haven assets, the dollar index firmed about 0.1 percent to a near two-week high, putting pressure on Asian currencies. The Thai baht weakened 0.4 percent to a more than one-week low and led losses in the region. Thailand's royalty made an unprecedented move into politics on Friday when the sister of King Maha Vajiralongkorn was declared a prime ministerial candidate in a March 24 general election, registration papers showed. One of her leading opponents will be Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, the leader of the military junta, who also announced his candidacy on Friday. "That has thrown the entire elections into a turmoil, the market has been processing in that the military incumbent had a good chance of winning this race. But the princess is a strong candidate and that definitely has an impact on the currency," said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at OANDA. The Indian rupee strengthened 0.3 percent, the most among its peers, helped by a sharp drop in oil prices, which would take some pressure off the world's third-biggest oil importer. The Philippine peso firmed 0.1 percent. The Philippine central bank kept its benchmark interest rate steady for a second straight meeting on Thursday. The Korean won, Malaysian ringgit and Indonesian rupiah posted meagre gains. The Chinese yuan and Taiwan dollar did not trade due to market holidays. MORE CUTS TO COME? India's central bank on Thursday unexpectedly lowered interest rates and, as anticipated, changed its policy stance to "neutral" to boost a slowing economy after a sharp slide in the inflation rate. The rupee had weakened immediately after the decision, but ended the day 0.1 percent higher. The central new bank's governor Shaktikanta Das also hinted that there is more room to cut rates if inflation remains muted, sounding a markedly more dovish tone from the central bank. "A decisive change in tone, with even the perpetual hawk (Dr. Patra) joining the rate cut camp, gives further credence to our view that one more cut is on its way," Madhavi Arora, economist at Edelweiss Securities, said in a client note. "And with the tone of the policy assertively dovish, we continue to see one more 25 bps cut coming in April," she added. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0516 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Change on the day at 0516 GMT Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 109.700 109.8 +0.09 Sing dlr 1.356 1.3562 -0.01 Korean won 1123.800 1124.1 +0.03 Baht 31.380 31.25 -0.41 Peso 52.060 52.09 +0.06 Rupiah 13965.000 13970 +0.04 Rupee 71.290 71.45 +0.22 Ringgit 4.069 4.0715 +0.06 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 109.700 109.56 -0.13 Sing dlr 1.356 1.3627 +0.46 Taiwan dlr 30.745 30.733 -0.04 Korean won 1123.800 1115.70 -0.72 Baht 31.380 32.55 +3.73 Peso 52.060 52.47 +0.79 Rupiah 13965.000 14375 +2.94 Rupee 71.290 69.77 -2.13 Ringgit 4.069 4.1300 +1.50 Yuan 6.734 6.8730 +2.06 (Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

World News