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Ambar Warrick

Australian shares drop as miners retreat; NZ inches lower

3:23am BST

June 17 Australian shares ticked lower on Monday as blue-chip mining stocks took a breather after rallying more than 6% last week, while energy firms were pressured by uncertainty over the demand outlook for oil.

EM ASIA FX-Most weaken, tech gloom hits Korean won, Taiwan dollar

13 Jun 2019

* KRW and TWD hurt by technology rout * Indonesian rupiah leads intraday declines (Adds text, updates prices) By Ambar Warrick June 13 Most Asian currencies were weaker on Thursday, with a deteriorating outlook for the global memory chip industry hurting the South Korean won and Taiwan dollar. Regional risk appetite waned as chances of a U.S.-China trade deal being struck at the G20 leaders' meeting in Osaka in late-June grew less likely. Emerging market currencies made little headway against the dollar on Thursday despite moderate U.S. inflation data that enhanced rate cut expectations by the Federal Reserve. The dollar held the bulk of its overnight gains on safe-haven demand. The Japanese yen was also up about 0.12%. U.S. President Donald Trump declined to set a deadline on Wednesday for levying further tariffs on Chinese goods and called the relationship with Beijing good but "testy" after China walked back commitments for a trade deal. "Risk appetite remains soft amid concerns on global growth and a protracted trade war on the back of tough rhetoric from Trump towards the U.S.' trading partners," Mizuho Bank's Zhu Huani said in a note. The won declined 0.24% to the dollar, while the Taiwan dollar shed about 0.22%. Chipmaker stocks across both regions declined after a report published by Evercore ISI on U.S. chip equipment maker Lam Research spelt further weakness in the industry. The Indonesian rupiah led intraday losses, falling about 0.28% to the dollar. While sentiment for the rupiah has improved recently due to political stability in the archipelago, the currency stands to weaken if changes in global trade flows adversely affect Indonesia's current account balance. "Coupled with continued concerns on trade and current account outlook, (the) rupiah could find it harder to gain ground, despite dissipated political uncertainty and rising consumer confidence," Saktiandi Supaat, head of FX research at Maybank Singapore, said in a note. The Chinese yuan edged about 0.02% lower to the dollar, with further losses being mitigated by a stronger than expected midpoint. The currency has seen stronger daily fixes of late as it nears the crucial 7 per dollar level. WEAKEST REGIONAL CURRENCIES The won is the worst regional performer this year, dropping about 5.9%, while the Taiwan dollar is the second-worst, having shed about 2.4%. Taiwan and South Korea rely heavily on electronics exports, and a recent slowdown in the global technology industry has dampened business conditions in both economies. Taiwan cut its 2019 GDP outlook last month due to a drop in exports, while South Korea revised lower its first-quarter GDP figures last week. Sustained weakness in both economies will likely prompt future policy easing. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar on Thursday. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Change on the day at 0450 GMT Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 108.360 108.49 +0.12 Sing dlr 1.366 1.3666 +0.03 Taiwan dlr 31.500 31.430 -0.22 Korean won 1185.400 1182.6 -0.24 Baht 31.210 31.24 +0.10 Peso 51.950 51.99 +0.08 Rupiah 14270.000 14230 -0.28 Rupee 69.350 69.34 -0.01 Ringgit 4.160 4.155 -0.12 Yuan 6.921 6.9188 -0.02 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 108.360 109.56 +1.11 Sing dlr 1.366 1.3627 -0.26 Taiwan dlr 31.500 30.733 -2.43 Korean won 1185.400 1115.70 -5.88 Baht 31.210 32.55 +4.29 Peso 51.950 52.47 +1.00 Rupiah 14270.000 14375 +0.74 Rupee 69.350 69.77 +0.61 Ringgit 4.160 4.1300 -0.72 Yuan 6.921 6.8730 -0.69 (Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

EM ASIA FX-Thai baht, Indian rupee firm; most trade sideways

12 Jun 2019

* Thai baht leads intraday gains * Rupee stronger ahead of India's inflation data (Adds text, updates prices) By Ambar Warrick June 12 Asian currencies traded narrowly on Wednesday, with the Thai baht and Indian rupee firming as investors looked to data that could raise prospects of an early cut in U.S. interest rates. Economic indicators in the United States have been a point of focus for emerging markets, given that sustained weakness in the economy could prompt immediate action from the Federal Reserve and drive money to regional currencies. Sino-U.S. trade tensions, meanwhile, kept markets cautious as U.S. President Donald Trump hardened his stance on trade talks with China. Trump said on Tuesday he was holding up a trade deal with China and had no interest in moving ahead unless Beijing agrees again to four or five "major points", be he did not specify. "Expect investors to remain antsy with U.S. Commerce Secretary expecting no major breakthrough deals, while official rhetoric from China continues to harden," OCBC's Emmanuel Ng said in a note. The Thai baht led gains for the day, rising about 0.15% to the dollar. The currency has outperformed its peers this year, gaining about 4.2% so far. While Thailand's strong economic fundamentals, such as a robust current account surplus, have bolstered the baht, headwinds from global trade are expected to weigh. This has already become apparent with a steady decline in its surplus this year. The Indian rupee rose about 0.06% to the dollar. The currency has benefited from a recent drop in oil prices, as India imports a vast majority of its crude requirements. Retail inflation in the country is expected to have accelerated in May, according to a Reuters poll, but will likely remain below the Reserve Bank of India's target, providing it with more room to ease policy after shifting to an accommodative stance last week. The official reading is expected later in the day. Indian industrial output data for April is also due later in the day. Elsewhere, the Chinese yuan edged about 0.07% lower against the dollar. It gained on Tuesday following the central bank's plans to issue bills in Hong Kong later in June that analysts believed were aimed at preventing the currency from declining further. The Philippine peso saw limited trade with markets closed for a public holiday. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar on Wednesday. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Change on the day at 0421 GMT Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 108.450 108.5 +0.05 Sing dlr 1.364 1.3635 -0.06 Taiwan dlr 31.415 31.436 +0.07 Korean won 1181.600 1180.4 -0.10 Baht 31.243 31.29 +0.15 Rupiah 14235.000 14235 +0.00 Rupee 69.400 69.44 +0.06 Ringgit 4.162 4.161 -0.02 Yuan 6.916 6.9112 -0.07 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 108.450 109.56 +1.02 Sing dlr 1.364 1.3627 -0.12 Taiwan dlr 31.415 30.733 -2.17 Korean won 1181.600 1115.70 -5.58 Baht 31.243 32.55 +4.19 Rupiah 14235.000 14375 +0.98 Rupee 69.400 69.77 +0.53 Ringgit 4.162 4.1300 -0.77 Yuan 6.916 6.8730 -0.62 (Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

EM ASIA FX-Most weaker as U.S.-Mexico trade deal buoys dollar

10 Jun 2019

* Indonesian rupiah leads gains in catch-up trade * Chinese yuan at weakest level in over 6 months * Philippine peso leads intraday losses (Adds text, updates prices) By Ambar Warrick June 10 The Indonesian rupiah rose in catch-up trade while most Asian currencies edged lower on Monday, after the United States called off trade tariffs on Mexico, prompting markets to scale back expectations of an imminent rate cut by the Federal Reserve. Most regional equity markets rose after Mexico agreed to take strong measures to curb illegal immigration, as the prospect of another trade war had prompted heavy selling over the past week. The U.S. dollar was up about 0.3%. Markets had priced in slightly more than a 50% probability that rates would be cut 25 basis points by the end of July and one more cut would follow by the end of the year, according to the CME Group's FedWatch Tool. Weaker U.S. employment data on Friday had also raised expectations for an interest rate cut. Policy easing by the Fed would drive capital flows to regional markets on the prospect of better yields. "It sort of diminished the urgency for the Fed to move on the rate cut because you price out the downside risk with regards to the tariffs. From that perspective, it seems that some of the dollar selling on the back of lower U.S. rates could be unwound this week," said Chang Wei Liang, forex strategist at Mizuho Bank. Sentiment was rattled early in the Asian trading day after Chinese imports in May slid a worse-than-expected 8.5% from a year earlier, pointing to weakening demand from the world's second-largest economy. Exports saw a surprise return to growth although analysts said this could be due to front-loading by exporters to avoid higher U.S. tariffs. The Chinese yuan was among the biggest losers for the day, shedding about 0.3% to the dollar. Increased trade tensions have battered the currency, which traded at its weakest level in more than six months. "We don't see too much of a relief rebound partly because U.S. policy capriciousness has become a lot more damaging to market sentiment," Chang added. A Reuters poll last week found that market participants were broadly bearish on most Asian currencies as the U.S.-China trade conflict showed no signs of abating. Investors will now look to any developments at a G20 leaders' summit late this month. The South Korean won shed about 0.2%, while the Philippine peso dropped 0.4%. Most other regional units traded in a flat-to-low range. RUPIAH GAINS The Indonesian rupiah led gains, rising about 0.32% to the dollar after markets were closed last week for the Eid al-Fitr holidays. Inflation in Southeast Asia's largest economy accelerated more than expected in May, cooling expectations for fiscal policy easing in the country, given that the figure was well within Bank Indonesia's target. Mizuho's Chang said that the country may be more insulated to global trade headwinds than its peers due to its reliance on domestic demand, rather than exports. Chang also noted that the continuance of economic reform policies would spur interest in the country, after incumbent President Joko Widodo retained power. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar on Monday. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Change on the day at 0415 GMT Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 108.570 108.18 -0.36 Sing dlr 1.366 1.3622 -0.26 Taiwan dlr 31.414 31.402 -0.04 Korean won 1183.800 1181.4 -0.20 Baht 31.370 31.35 -0.06 Peso 52.110 51.9 -0.40 Rupiah 14225.000 14270 +0.32 Rupee 69.465 69.47 +0.01 Ringgit 4.162 4.157 -0.12 Yuan 6.934 6.9118 -0.32 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 108.570 109.56 +0.91 Sing dlr 1.366 1.3627 -0.22 Taiwan dlr 31.414 30.733 -2.17 Korean won 1183.800 1115.70 -5.75 Baht 31.370 32.55 +3.76 Peso 52.110 52.47 +0.69 Rupiah 14225.000 14375 +1.05 Rupee 69.465 69.77 +0.44 Ringgit 4.162 4.1300 -0.77 Yuan 6.934 6.8730 -0.88 (Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

Short positions sustain for most Asian currencies as trade war rages on: Reuters poll

06 Jun 2019

Short positions on most Asian currencies persisted over the past two weeks, a Reuters poll showed, as an escalating trade standoff between the United States and China saw investors holding little faith in regional risk assets.

SE Asia Stocks-Thai, Vietnam shares rise on Fed rate cut hopes

05 Jun 2019

* Thailand hits over 3-week high * Trading thin in wake of regional holidays By Ambar Warrick June 5 Thailand and Vietnam stock markets rose on Wednesday tracking broader equities higher after the U.S. Federal Reserve hinted at an interest rate cut, while regional holidays prompted languid trade. U.S. stocks bounced overnight, with Asian shares in tow as the prospect of an interest rate cut pointed to more capital flows into high-yield risk assets such as equities. Thai index rose about 0.6% to its highest in more than three weeks, with heavyweight energy stocks leading broad-based gains. Oil and gas explorer PTT Pcl was the biggest boost to the benchmark, with the stock rising 1.1%. Trading volumes in Thailand were at less than a tenth of their 30-day average. Vietnam market rose about 0.5% with real estate stocks leading gainers. Developer Vingroup JSC rose about 0.8% and was the biggest boost to the index. Trading volumes in Vietnam were also well below their 30-day average. Markets in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines are closed for a public holiday on Wednesday. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AS AT 0331 GMT Change on the day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Bangkok 1648.1 1637.69 0.64 Ho Chi Minh 955.8 951.16 0.49 Change on year Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3142.37 3068.76 2.40 Bangkok 1648.1 1563.88 5.39 Manila 7945.37 7466.02 6.42 Jakarta 6209.117 6194.498 0.24 Kuala Lumpur 1644.09 1690.58 -2.75 Ho Chi Minh 955.8 892.54 7.09 (Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

Sweden's EQT cuts the cord on $2.3 billion offer for Aussie telco Vocus

04 Jun 2019

Vocus Group Ltd on Tuesday said Swedish private equity firm EQT Infrastructure had withdrawn its A$3.3 billion ($2.30 billion) buyout offer, making it the fourth suitor to drop its bid for the telecoms company in the last two years.

Australian telco Vocus entertains $2.3 billion offer from Sweden's EQT

27 May 2019

BANGALORE/SYDNEY Australian telecoms junior Vocus Group Ltd on Monday said it received a A$3.3 billion ($2.3 billion) buyout offer from Swedish private-equity firm EQT Infrastructure, just as the firm's fiber-focused turnaround plan begins to gain traction.

NZ's Fonterra sells Tip Top ice cream to Froneri for $250 million

13 May 2019

Dairy group Fonterra on Monday confirmed the sale of its New Zealand Tip Top ice cream business to UK-based Froneri for NZ$380 million ($250.3 million), as it looks to trim its portfolio and focus on international markets.

SE Asia Stocks-Vietnam gains on EU trade pact hopes; Thailand drops

26 Apr 2019

* Vietnam best weekly performer * Thailand posts first weekly drop in four * Indonesia recovers from two-day selloff By Ambar Warrick April 26 Vietnam equities ended higher on Friday boosted by positive cues from an impending free trade pact with the European Union, while Thai markets dropped in overall subdued trade across Southeast Asia ahead of U.S. economic growth data. A string of solid numbers has led analysts to revise upwards their outlook for U.S. growth and the latest median polled by Reuters is for an annualised 2.0 percent. A strong reading could result in heavy foreign fund outflows for regional risk assets. Vietnam's benchmark closed about 0.6 percent higher in broad based gains, as investors took positive cues from a free trade pact to be signed with the European Union by June end. Real estate and financial stocks led gains, with Vinhomes JSC and Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam ending up 2 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively. Joint Stock Commercial Bank was also bolstered after it said it was targeting nearly 9 percent growth in its 2019 profit. The benchmark index gained about 1.4 percent for the week, outpacing its regional peers. Indonesian stocks shrugged off initial weakness to end 0.4 percent higher, snapping two straight sessions of heavy losses. By Thursday's close, the Jakarta index had lost about 1.4 percent over two sessions after a sell-off in consumer stocks bled into other sectors. Financials and telecommunication stocks led gains for the day, with Bank Danamon Indonesia Tbk PT and Telekomunikasi Indonesia ending 4.7 percent and 2.1 percent higher, respectively. For the week, Indonesian stocks shed 1.6 percent, their worst weekly drop since early-March. On the other hand, the Thai index ended about 0.4 percent down, as heavyweight oil and gas producers PTT and Thai Oil were undercut by a retraction in oil prices. Total Access Communication was the biggest drag on the benchmark after its first-quarter results were seen as lower than expected. "The 1Q19 results were below our forecast and the consensus by 4 percent and 10 percent, respectively," local brokerage KT-ZMICO said in a research note. The Thai index snapped three straight weeks of gains this week and ended 0.4 percent lower. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3356.95 3350.28 0.20 Bangkok 1667.15 1673.32 -0.37 Manila 7868.28 7894.45 -0.33 Jakarta 6401.08 6372.787 0.44 Kuala Lumpur 1638.38 1635.68 0.17 Ho Chi Minh 979.64 974.13 0.57 Change on year Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3356.95 3068.76 9.39 Bangkok 1667.15 1563.88 6.60 Manila 7868.28 7466.02 5.39 Jakarta 6401.08 6194.498 3.33 Kuala Lumpur 1638.38 1690.58 -3.09 Ho Chi Minh 979.64 892.54 9.76 (Reporting by Ambar Warrick; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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