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Nikhil Nainan

Australia shares firmer but coal stocks hit by China ban; NZ up

22 Feb 2019

Feb 22 Australian shares rose on Friday, led by gains in the financial sector but China's ban on coal imports from Australia weighed on coal stocks and raised broader concerns about relations between Canberra and Beijing.

Australia shares nudge up on Wesfarmers boost; NZ firms

21 Feb 2019

Feb 21 Australian shares edged higher on Thursday, supported by a jump in profit from conglomerate Wesfarmers that offset losses among resource stocks.

Australian shares lower as consumer firms sag, dairy boosts NZ

20 Feb 2019

Feb 20 Australian shares slipped on Wednesday, erasing earlier gains as weakness in the consumer and property sectors offset a strong rally in resource related firms.

Australia shares firmer, led by financial sector; NZ slips

19 Feb 2019

* ANZ rises as investors expect lender to be less conservative

Australia shares touch 4-month high on trade optimism; NZ rises

18 Feb 2019

Feb 18 Australian shares rose to their highest in more than four months on Monday, bolstered by rising optimism the United States and China would be able to reach an agreement to resolve their long drawn-out trade war.

EM ASIA FX-Most Asian currencies weaken as China factory data chills sentiment

01 Feb 2019

* Weak China factory readings outweigh Fed's dovish stance * India's pre-election budget in focus * Rupiah gains; while rest of Asia FX weakens (Adds text, updates prices) By Nikhil Nainan Feb 1 Most Asian currencies softened on Friday as bleak China factory readings knocked back investor sentiment, which had been improving on signs of progress in Sino-U.S. trade talks and a shift by the U.S. central bank to a more cautious stance. China's factory activity shrank by the most in almost three years in January as new orders slumped further and output fell, a private survey showed, reinforcing fears a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy is deepening. The data overshadowed apparent progress on trade talks after U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping soon to try to seal a comprehensive trade deal as the top U.S. negotiator reported "substantial progress" in two days of high-level talks. China's yuan weakened 0.4 percent on Friday after the data, though it still looked set for a second week of gains against the dollar. The dollar index, a gauge of its strength versus six major peers was trading roughly unchanged, but set to fall for the week. Thailand's baht dropped 0.3 percent to 31.33 against the dollar. Data on Thursday showed exports contracted in December. The baht is on track for a 10th straight week of gains and is the region's best performing currency. The country's central bank is set to meet late next week. "Authorities have more reasons to be wary about the ongoing currency strength while exports are poised to falter," said ING in a note on Thursday after the data was published. Meanwhile, the rupiah rose 0.2 percent to 13,940, with the unit set to gain nearly 1 percent for the week. Markets in Malaysia were closed for a holiday. INDIA ON BUDGET WATCH The rupee was slightly weaker at 71.125, with investors awaiting ruling party spending pledges ahead of a general election in May that may have lead to the country's fiscal deficit expanding. "The markets will be looking out for what the budget holds whether or not there is going to be any big spending promises that will lead to a larger than expected fiscal deficit, if that happens, then that will be a negative for the rupee," said Khoon Goh, ANZ's Head of Asia Research. With the country's opposition gaining ground, the government will likely raise spending. Along with a shortfall in tax collections, that will push the fiscal deficit up to the equivalent of 3.5 percent of gross domestic product for the year ending in March, overshooting a previous 3.3 percent target, according to one of the sources with direct knowledge of budget discussions. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Change on the day at 0340 GMT Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 108.910 108.87 -0.04 Sing dlr 1.348 1.3452 -0.19 Taiwan dlr 30.725 30.740 +0.05 Korean won 1116.700 1112.7 -0.36 Baht 31.330 31.23 -0.32 Peso 52.230 52.1 -0.25 Rupiah 13940.000 13970 +0.22 Rupee 71.125 71.08 -0.07 Yuan 6.728 6.6995 -0.42 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Japan yen 108.910 109.56 +0.60 Sing dlr 1.348 1.3627 +1.11 Taiwan dlr 30.725 30.733 +0.03 Korean won 1116.700 1115.70 -0.09 Baht 31.330 32.55 +3.89 Peso 52.230 52.47 +0.46 Rupiah 13940.000 14375 +3.12 Ringgit 4.094 4.1300 +0.88 Yuan 6.728 6.8730 +2.16 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill)

EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies mount strong gains after Fed's dovish outlook

31 Jan 2019

* Rupiah touches strongest level against dollar in 7 months * Malaysia's ringgit gains on export data, hits six-month high * After Fed decision, markets seek cues from U.S.-China trade talks (Adds text, updates prices) By Nikhil Nainan Jan 31 The Federal Reserve's dovish turn supported Asian currencies on Thursday and sent the dollar lower as the move improved sentiment across the region which had been hit hard by the U.S. central bank's tightening cycle last year. The Fed held interest rates steady as expected on Wednesday but discarded pledges of "further gradual increases" in interest rates, and said it would be "patient" before making any further moves amid a cloudy outlook for the U.S. economy due to global headwinds. The dollar index, a gauge of its value versus six major peers, had been trading lower ahead of the meeting and for much of the week. Following the Fed meeting, it fell to a three-week low of 95.246. Analysts have turned bearish on the dollar, which outperformed last year thanks to rates expectations and a robust U.S. economy, however the trade war and pressure on global growth have threatened to dent domestic output. The Indonesian rupiah, which was one of the worst performers in 2018, jumped 1.2 percent against the dollar to 13,960, its strongest level since the end of June last year. It fell 6 percent in 2018 but is set to end January nearly 3 percent higher. The strong gains were followed by the South Korean won and Thai baht, which rose 0.6 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively, against the dollar. Meanwhile, Malaysia's ringgit rose 0.5 percent to its strongest level in nearly six months after exports in December grew better-than-expected. With the Fed meeting out of the way, investors will now turn their focus to the outcome of the U.S.-China trade talks, which could cap some of the more upbeat sentiment seen on Thursday with little indication Beijing is willing to address core U.S. demands. "We don't expect any earth shattering announcements in terms of an immediate resolution of all pending issues but at the very minimum there should be a statement affirming the progress made in negotiations," said Wei Liang Chang, a FX strategist at Mizuho Bank. Maybank analysts said in a note a lack of any material progress in talks could disrupt the risk-seeking play investors are undertaking on Thursday. The Indian rupee rose 0.1 percent to 71.04. The government will announce its final budget ahead of a looming general election on Friday, with the uncertain outcome proving a concern for investors. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Change on the day at 0538 GMT Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 108.740 109.02 +0.26 Sing dlr 1.346 1.3471 +0.12 Taiwan dlr 30.740 30.776 +0.12 Korean won 1110.100 1116.3 +0.56 Baht 31.230 31.36 +0.42 Peso 52.030 52.155 +0.24 Rupiah 13960.000 14125 +1.18 Rupee 71.040 71.12 +0.11 Ringgit 4.084 4.105 +0.51 Yuan 6.698 6.7156 +0.26 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 108.740 109.56 +0.75 Sing dlr 1.346 1.3627 +1.28 Taiwan dlr 30.740 30.733 -0.02 Korean won 1110.100 1115.70 +0.50 Baht 31.230 32.55 +4.23 Peso 52.030 52.47 +0.85 Rupiah 13960.000 14375 +2.97 Rupee 71.040 69.77 -1.79 Ringgit 4.084 4.1300 +1.13 Yuan 6.698 6.8730 +2.61 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam Holmes)

EM ASIA FX-Most Asian units weaken on clouds cast over U.S.-China trade talks

29 Jan 2019

* Markets await Powell comments after Fed policy meeting * Investors wary of possible Huawei case impact on trade talks * Rupiah drops most against dollar early Tuesday (Adds text, updates prices) By Nikhil Nainan Jan 29 Most emerging Asian currencies weakened on Tuesday as the prospects for progress at high-level U.S-China trade talks this week were hurt by Washington's placement of criminal charges against China's Huawei Technologies Co. Further undermining the outlook for the talks, set for Wednesday and Thursday in Washington, was China triggering the legal process on Monday for the World Trade Organization to hear Beijing's challenge to U.S. tariffs. The combination of the U.S. Justice Department's charges against Huawei , which Beijing expressed serious concern over, and China's WTO move may complicate recent hopes of a trade deal between the world's top two economies. Indonesia's rupiah weakened the most in the region, down 0.2 percent to 14,090 a dollar, but it remained among the top gainers this year. Malaysia's ringgit and the Thai baht both fell 0.1 percent, while the Philippine peso was flat. While most Asian currencies were weaker in early trade, losses were capped by the U.S. dollar holding flat and some optimism that there still could be positive developments from discussions between China's Vice Premier Liu He and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and others. The safe-haven yen gained against the greenback, while the dollar index was roughly flat, but hovered around its lowest level in two weeks. "Having relented on the US government shutdown, President Donald Trump needs to show a win on trade at his State of the Union address on 5 February," DBS said in a note. The actions by the U.S. Justice Dept. "show that it would not be enough for China to buy more US goods. America wants China to make structural reforms especially on its intellectual property practices", the bank said. The Indian rupee and China's yuan were largely unchanged. MARKETS AWAIT FED MEETING OUTCOME Tuesday brings the start of a two-day U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting, where Chairman Jerome Powell is widely expected to acknowledge growing risks to the U.S. economy as global momentum weakens. Investors will be keenly looking for further confirmation that the U.S. monetary authority will pause its rate-hike cycle. The interest rate futures market is pricing in no Fed hikes this year. Last year, the dollar enjoyed a solid rally as the Fed raised rates four times because of a robust economy, to the dismay of regional emerging market currencies. In a note, Maybank analysts said "a case of extended pause in Fed's tightening cycle would further reinforce our bias to lean against USD strength." CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Change on the day at 0444 GMT Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 109.240 109.34 +0.09 Sing dlr 1.353 1.3524 -0.05 Taiwan dlr 30.810 30.790 -0.06 Korean won 1117.200 1117.7 +0.04 Baht 31.573 31.54 -0.10 Peso 52.500 52.489 -0.02 Rupiah 14090.000 14065 -0.18 Rupee 71.110 71.10 -0.01 Ringgit 4.111 4.108 -0.07 Yuan 6.744 6.7450 +0.01 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 109.240 109.56 +0.29 Sing dlr 1.353 1.3627 +0.71 Taiwan dlr 30.810 30.733 -0.25 Korean won 1117.200 1115.70 -0.13 Baht 31.573 32.55 +3.10 Peso 52.500 52.47 -0.06 Rupiah 14090.000 14375 +2.02 Rupee 71.110 69.77 -1.88 Ringgit 4.111 4.1300 +0.46 Yuan 6.744 6.8730 +1.91 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies firm as dollar eases; Thai baht gains most

28 Jan 2019

* Investors eye Fed policy meet, U.S-China trade talks * China's yuan strengthens to 6-month high versus dollar * Thai baht touches highest against greenback since April-end (Adds text, updates prices) By Nikhil Nainan Jan 28 A weaker U.S. dollar lifted Asian currencies on Monday heading into major market events including a Federal Reserve policy meeting and high-level U.S.-China trade talks. In its first meeting of 2019, the Fed is expected to pause its rate hike cycle, benefiting emerging market currencies. Recent comments by Chairman Jerome Powell have suggested the central bank will be patient in its policy decisions this year, citing growing risks to the U.S. economy. The dollar index, a gauge of its value versus six major peers, traded 0.1 percent lower at 95.694, its weakest level in about two weeks, as a deal to reopen the U.S. government for now reduced demand for the safety of the greenback. "With no policy action appearing to be a forgone conclusion at this FOMC, what markets will gauge is how open the Fed is in shifting out of tightening mode," Mizuho Bank said in a note, referring to the meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee between Jan 29-30. Broad strength in Asian currencies was led by the Thai baht , which rose to its strongest level against the dollar since last April, rising about 0.5 percent. The new year has seen investors turn bullish on most Asian currencies, with a recent Reuters poll finding that investors were most bullish on the Thai baht. Last week, the country set March 24 as the date for its long-awaited general election. The Indonesian rupiah and Philippine peso among 2018's worst performers, gained 0.3 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively. India's rupee rose 0.1 percent to 71.080 to the dollar. On Friday, the government will announce its last budget before national elections, which are expected to be held by May. YUAN MAKES STRIDES AHEAD OF HIGH-LEVEL TRADE TALKS The Chinese yuan gained 0.3 percent, rising to an over six-month high against the dollar, ahead of Chinese Vice Premier Liu He's visit to the United States on Jan. 30-31 for the next round of trade negotiations with Washington. The unit received support in early trade on Monday after major state-owned Chinese banks were seen selling dollars into spot market to prop up the Chinese currency, three yuan traders said. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said last week that currency issues would be on the agenda for the bilateral trade talks. Sources say China is keen to buy more U.S. goods to reduce its massive trade surplus, but the two sides are far apart on other issues such as Washington's demands that Beijing make structural economic reforms. Meanwhile, a Reuters poll late last week showed investors turned bullish on China's yuan for the first time in nearly eight months, coinciding with the escalation in trade tensions between the world's top two economies. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Change on the day at 0442 GMT Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 109.390 109.53 +0.13 Sing dlr 1.351 1.3536 +0.16 Taiwan dlr 30.749 30.825 +0.25 Korean won 1116.300 1121.3 +0.45 Baht 31.490 31.64 +0.48 Peso 52.410 52.505 +0.18 Rupiah 14040.000 14080 +0.28 Rupee 71.080 71.18 +0.13 Ringgit 4.108 4.1225 +0.35 Yuan 6.731 6.7485 +0.26 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 109.390 109.56 +0.16 Sing dlr 1.351 1.3627 +0.84 Taiwan dlr 30.749 30.733 -0.05 Korean won 1116.300 1115.70 -0.05 Baht 31.490 32.55 +3.37 Peso 52.410 52.47 +0.11 Rupiah 14040.000 14375 +2.39 Rupee 71.080 69.77 -1.84 Ringgit 4.108 4.1300 +0.54 Yuan 6.731 6.8730 +2.11 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill)

Yuan bulls re-emerge amid growing trade talk hopes: Reuters poll

24 Jan 2019

Investors turned bullish on China's yuan for the first time in nearly eight months, a Reuters Poll showed, after Sino-U.S. trade tensions took a turn for the worse last year and consumed global markets for much of 2018.

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