Edition:
United Kingdom

Rashmi Ashok

Australian bank CBA weighs capital return, shares soar to five-year high

12 Feb 2020

SYDNEY Commonwealth Bank of Australia posted a better than expected half-year profit and said it was actively considering returning capital to shareholders, driving its shares higher to a near five-year peak.

EM ASIA FX-Taiwan dollar, Korean won climb on upbeat U.S. import data

06 Feb 2020

* December U.S. imports up 3.2% to seven-month high * Yuan climbs, China to slash tariffs on some U.S. imports * Philippine peso, Indian rupee flat ahead of rate decisions (Adds text, updates prices) By Rashmi Ashok Feb 6 Currencies of export-reliant Taiwan and South Korea firmed on Thursday after data showed sharp growth in U.S. imports, while the yuan climbed on China's plans to slash tariffs on some U.S. imports. U.S. goods imports rose 3.2% to a seven-month high after three straight months of declines, partly helping a rally on Wall Street overnight. The won opened firmer and jumped as much as 1.1% - its biggest intraday percentage gain in more than four weeks. The Taiwan dollar added nearly 0.6% to hit a two-week high. The yuan climbed 0.2% after China said it would halve tariffs on some goods imported from the United States starting Feb. 14. The currency rose to 6.959 against the U.S. dollar, its strongest since Jan. 23. Other Asian currencies also traded slightly higher on the news, although rising worries over the coronavirus outbreak that had claimed 563 lives in China by Wednesday limited the gains. Meanwhile, the Indian rupee and the Philippine peso were little changed ahead of central bank policy decisions. A Reuters poll showed the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is expected to cut interest rates, in a bid to buttress the economy against the negative impact of the virus outbreak, given that January inflation stayed within the central bank's target range. On the other hand, economists largely expect the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to keep rates on hold, as high inflation throws a spanner in its accommodative plans. The RBI lowered policy rates by a total of 135 basis points in 2019, leading to a spike in inflation even as growth stagnated. "Unfortunately for the RBI, no matter what its decision is, it is likely to be received negatively by both the currency market and the onshore equities market. Such are the joys of stagflation," Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst for Asia Pacific at OANDA, said in a note. Among losers, the Thai baht slid 0.4%, a day after the Bank of Thailand cut interest rates in a surprise move as it strives to cushion the tourism-reliant economy in the wake of a hit from the coronavirus epidemic. The Singapore dollar slipped for a second straight session after the Monetary Authority of Singapore's comments on Wednesday were seen by markets as an indicator of policy easing in its April meeting. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0520 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 109.950 109.8 -0.14 Sing dlr 1.384 1.3812 -0.22 Taiwan dlr 30.005 30.152 +0.49 Korean won 1178.400 1191.5 +1.11 Baht 31.090 30.96 -0.42 Peso 50.720 50.73 +0.02 Rupiah 13610.000 13670 +0.44 Rupee 71.220 71.19 -0.05 Ringgit 4.117 4.1195 +0.06 Yuan 6.962 6.9753 +0.19 Change so far in 2020 Currency Latest bid End 2019 Pct Move Japan yen 109.950 108.61 -1.22 Sing dlr 1.384 1.3444 -2.88 Taiwan dlr 30.005 30.106 +0.34 Korean won 1178.400 1156.40 -1.87 Baht 31.090 29.91 -3.80 Peso 50.720 50.65 -0.14 Rupiah 13610.000 13880 +1.98 Rupee 71.220 71.38 +0.22 Ringgit 4.117 4.0890 -0.68 Yuan 6.962 6.9632 +0.02 (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

EM ASIA FX-Most currencies fall as virus outbreak fuels rate-cut bets

05 Feb 2020

* Singapore dollar drops 0.9% to near four-month low * Thai baht slips 0.6% ahead of BOT decision due 0700 GMT * Philippine peso loses ground on rate-cut expectations (Adds text, updates prices) By Rashmi Ashok Feb 5 The Singapore dollar skidded to a near four-month low on Wednesday, leading losses among Asian currencies as markets increasingly priced in chances of rate cuts by central banks in the region to limit an economic hit from a virus outbreak. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said its exchange rate-based monetary policy stance remained unchanged, after having eased policy for the first time in three years at its last meeting in October. However, its statement - that its currency has room to ease within its current settings to accommodate any economic hit from the virus - was viewed by markets as an indicator of potential policy easing at the next meeting in April. In response, the Singapore dollar fell 0.9% to trade at 1.382 per dollar, the lowest in nearly four months. "The MAS' latest comments have prompted investors to price in the prospects of monetary policy easing in Singapore, before potential confirmation during the central bank's actual policy decision in April," said Han Tan, market analyst at FXTM. "An easing bias by the central bank could further dampen SGD's performance, potentially adding to the downward pressure, given the persisting concerns over the coronavirus outbreak's impact on the global economy." Meanwhile, rising expectations of rate cuts by most central banks in the region to fend off the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak gave stocks a leg-up, but put pressure on currencies. The Philippine peso gave up 0.3% as expectations of a rate cut by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) at its Thursday meeting continued to rise. Even a surprise jump in January inflation to an eight-month high failed to dent the hopes, given the figure was still well within the central bank's comfort range. "We expect the benign inflation dynamics to afford the BSP scope to cut its policy rate at the Feb. 6 meeting to give the economy a boost to help navigate the more challenging global growth scenario," said Nicholas Mapa, a senior economist for Philippines at ING. Along a similar vein, the Thai baht skidded 0.6%, weakening past the key 31 per dollar level, just ahead of the Bank of Thailand's policy meeting due around 0700 GMT. A Reuters poll showed the BOT is expected to hold its benchmark rate at a record low, but a significant number of the economists participating in the poll forecast a rate cut, citing the coronavirus outbreak as a wild card in the decision. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0551 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 109.410 109.51 +0.09 Sing dlr 1.382 1.3699 -0.85 Taiwan dlr 30.086 30.207 +0.40 Korean won 1191.000 1187.4 -0.30 Baht 31.120 30.95 -0.55 Peso 50.870 50.71 -0.31 Rupiah 13715.000 13705 -0.07 Rupee 71.258 71.25 -0.01 Ringgit 4.122 4.109 -0.32 Yuan 7.005 6.9982 -0.10 Change so far in 2020 Currency Latest bid End 2019 Pct Move Japan yen 109.410 108.61 -0.73 Sing dlr 1.382 1.3444 -2.69 Taiwan dlr 30.086 30.106 +0.07 Korean won 1191.000 1156.40 -2.91 Baht 31.120 29.91 -3.89 Peso 50.870 50.65 -0.43 Rupiah 13715.000 13880 +1.20 Rupee 71.258 71.38 +0.17 Ringgit 4.122 4.0890 -0.80 Yuan 7.005 6.9632 -0.60 (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

EM ASIA FX-Most currencies recover as yuan steadies, but virus fears persist

04 Feb 2020

* Chinese yuan firms, stands under key 7 per dollar level * Bank Indonesia to stay in markets to keep rupiah stable * Thai cenbank set to hold rates at Wednesday meet - poll (Adds text, updates prices) By Rashmi Ashok Feb 4 Most Asian currencies recovered slightly and the yuan held steady on Tuesday, as China's efforts to allay fears around the coronavirus outbreak lent some support to jittery markets. China's move to infuse liquidity into markets, trim some key lending rates and place restrictions on short-selling helped the local markets recover from Monday's steep losses. However, gains were capped as cautious investors took note of the death toll, which jumped to 425 in China by Monday-end even as Hong Kong reported its first death due to the virus. The onshore yuan firmed 0.34% to 6.998 per dollar, just below the symbolic 7 per dollar level it had breached on Monday. The central bank's official mid-point fix at 6.9779 per dollar, while nearly 0.8% weaker than the previous fix, did not stray above the 7.00 mark, offering some relief to Asian units, Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at AxiCorp, wrote in a note. The South Korean won strengthened 0.7%, while the Taiwan dollar added 0.4%. The Thai baht, the worst-hit currency from the virus fears so far, gained 0.3% to trade at 30.930, firming past the key 31 per dollar mark it had been trading above across the last three sessions. The Bank of Thailand will meet on Wednesday and it is widely expected to keep the benchmark rate unchanged and save the ammunition for later, as the coronavirus threatens key tourist inflows from China. The Indonesian rupiah traded a touch firmer, after a steep fall on Monday forced Bank Indonesia (BI) to step into bond, currency and non-deliverable forwards (NDF) markets to keep the currency stable. On Tuesday too, a central bank official said the BI will remain in the market to provide stability, adding that impact from the coronavirus to the country's economy would be "small". India, one of the world's largest importers of oil, saw its currency find some support, as worries over lower demand hurt crude prices. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0525 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 108.760 108.67 -0.08 Sing dlr 1.371 1.3687 -0.18 Taiwan dlr 30.220 30.332 +0.37 Korean won 1186.600 1195 +0.71 Baht 30.930 31.02 +0.29 Peso 50.780 50.86 +0.16 Rupiah 13725.000 13740 +0.11 Rupee 71.198 71.33 +0.18 Ringgit 4.113 4.115 +0.05 Yuan 6.998 7.0220 +0.34 Change so far in 2020 Currency Latest bid End 2019 Pct Move Japan yen 108.760 108.61 -0.14 Sing dlr 1.371 1.3444 -1.95 Taiwan dlr 30.220 30.106 -0.38 Korean won 1186.600 1156.40 -2.55 Baht 30.930 29.91 -3.30 Peso 50.780 50.65 -0.26 Rupiah 13725.000 13880 +1.13 Rupee 71.198 71.38 +0.26 Ringgit 4.113 4.0890 -0.58 Yuan 6.998 6.9632 -0.50 (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies weaken as virus worries pound yuan

03 Feb 2020

* Chinese yuan down 1.2%, past symbolic 7 per dollar * More than $420 bln wiped off Chinese equities benchmark index * Indonesian rupiah's 0.6% tumble draws cenbank intervention By Rashmi Ashok Feb 3 The yuan weakened over 1% in onshore trade on Monday after Chinese markets reopened following an extended Lunar New Year break, pulling down already bruised Asian currencies as worries over the coronavirus outbreak cast a pall over the region. Trading for the first time since Jan. 23, the onshore yuan shed 1.2% to trade at 7.019 against the dollar, the weakest since Dec. 12, 2019, as the death toll in China from the fast-spreading virus rose to 361 as of Sunday. In a show of support, China's central bank unexpectedly lowered the interest rates on reverse repurchase agreements and also injected a total of 1.2 trillion yuan ($173.81 billion) into money markets on Monday. The measures, however, did little to assuage markets. Investors shaved off about $420 billion from the benchmark Shanghai Composite index, while yields on the country's 30-year government bonds fell. "The coordinated and pre-emptive measures by Beijing will go a long way to soften the blow, but confidence remains fragile amid high uncertainty," Lavanya Venkateswaran, economist at Mizuho Bank's Asia & Oceania Treasury Department said. Knock-on effects from the yuan's dive and worries over the outbreak hurting demand from China kept most regional units under pressure. The Thai baht weakened 0.1%. The region's best performer across the last two years, the currency has shed over 4% since the year began. Last week, the Thai Tourism Ministry warned that reduced travel from China alone could result in 50 billion baht ($1.52 billion) of lost tourism revenue. The Malaysian ringgit eased 0.4% while the Taiwan dollar and South Korean won lost about 0.3% each against the dollar. Even the Indian rupee eased, despite data from a private survey which showed manufacturing activity in the country expanded at its quickest pace in nearly eight years in January. The Indonesian rupiah tumbled nearly 0.6% to trade at 13,725 against the dollar — weakest in nearly three weeks — despite the central bank stepping in to support the currency. An official said Bank Indonesia was intervening in spot foreign currency trading as well as domestic non-deliverable forward and bond markets to stabilise the currency, whose fall he attributed to the sudden drop in Chinese markets. So far this year, the currency is the region's best performer and sole gainer, firming 1%, as a series of rate hikes across 2018 to defend against capital outflows continue to lend support. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0613 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 108.480 108.38 -0.09 Sing dlr 1.368 1.3648 -0.26 Taiwan dlr 30.298 30.250 -0.16 Korean won 1195.500 1191.8 -0.31 Baht 31.180 31.15 -0.10 Peso 50.980 51 +0.04 Rupiah 13725.000 13650 -0.55 Rupee 71.578 71.34 -0.33 Ringgit 4.111 4.095 -0.39 Yuan 7.015 6.9368 -1.11 Change so far in 2020 Currency Latest bid End 2019 Pct Move Japan yen 108.480 108.61 +0.12 Sing dlr 1.368 1.3444 -1.75 Taiwan dlr 30.298 30.106 -0.63 Korean won 1195.500 1156.40 -3.27 Baht 31.180 29.91 -4.07 Peso 50.980 50.65 -0.65 Rupiah 13725.000 13880 +1.13 Rupee 71.578 71.38 -0.28 Ringgit 4.111 4.0890 -0.54 Yuan 7.015 6.9632 -0.73 (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

EM ASIA FX-Most Asian currencies firm, but virus fears cap gains

24 Jan 2020

(Adds text, updates prices) By Rashmi Ashok Jan 24 Most Asian currencies rose slightly on Friday, although gains were limited by lack of direction from China and rising death toll and case count from a new coronavirus. Trading volumes were thin, with financial markets in China, Taiwan and South Korea closed for the Lunar New Year. The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Thursday declared the virus outbreak an emergency for China but stopped short of declaring it an international concern, offering some comfort to investors. The virus had killed 25 people in China and infected more than 800 by Thursday. "With several Asian markets seeing a holiday-shortened trading week ahead, investors will be hoping that the outbreak doesn't worsen over the coming days," Han Tan, market analyst at Cyprus-based brokerage FXTM, wrote in a note. "Still, regional markets could see an outsized reaction when trading resumes, should pent-up concerns be unleashed if the virus' spread worsens drastically over the near-term." The Indonesian rupiah firmed 0.4% against the dollar, after Bank Indonesia (BI) kept interest rates on hold on Thursday. BI said the country's economic cycle had passed its lowest point and would now continue to improve, adding that the rupiah's level remained in line with fundamentals and was expected to remain stable. The Malaysian ringgit and the Philippine peso strengthened 0.3% each. The Singapore dollar strengthened marginally. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0544 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 109.520 109.48 -0.04 Sing dlr 1.350 1.3511 +0.10 Baht 30.510 30.48 -0.10 Peso 50.870 51.02 +0.29 Rupiah 13570.000 13625 +0.41 Rupee 71.280 71.27 -0.02 Ringgit 4.063 4.0735 +0.26 Change so far in 2020 Currency Latest bid End 2019 Pct Move Japan yen 109.520 108.61 -0.83 Sing dlr 1.350 1.3444 -0.39 Taiwan dlr 30.006 30.106 +0.33 Korean won 1168.700 1156.40 -1.05 Baht 30.510 29.91 -1.97 Peso 50.870 50.65 -0.43 Rupiah 13570.000 13880 +2.28 Rupee 71.280 71.38 +0.14 Ringgit 4.063 4.0890 +0.64 Yuan 6.937 6.9632 +0.38 (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

新兴汇市:病毒担忧与春节令多数亚洲货币陷于窄幅区间

23 Jan 2020

Rashmi Ashok 路透1月23日 - 大多数亚洲货币周四处于窄幅区间,春节即将来临,而中国病毒疫情担 忧也给一些市场带来了压力。 作为该地区风险情绪的晴雨表,人民币下跌了0.2%,而中国10年国债收益率 再破3%。随着新型冠状病毒感染的肺炎死亡病例增加,人们越发担心疫情蔓延。 由于数以亿计的中国人会在春节假期出行,市场担心病毒传播速度可能加快。 不过,中国政府采取的应对措施,帮助缓解了紧张情绪,限制了更大的跌势。 鉴于中国及其他多个亚洲市场因假期休市,下周的交投活动可能受抑。 多数亚币持平,韩元和泰铢分别下滑0.2%和0.3%。 印尼卢比小幅走强,稍后印尼央行公布利率决议。根据路透调查,该央行料维 持利率不变。 年末菲律宾经济增长好转提振披索。 路透调查显示,投资者对印度卢比的仓位为逾五个月来首次转为多仓。 澳新银行分析师在报告中称,印度汽车销售下滑的幅度已经减慢,且11月工业生产转升 ,终结了此前三个月的跌势,暗示印度经济终于触底反弹。 (06:11 GMT ) 币别 最新报 亚洲上日尾 当日涨跌 价 盘 日圆 109.55 109.83 +0.26% 坡元 1.35 1.3484 -0.12% 台币 30.006 29.998 -0.03% 韩元 1,168.1 1,164.6 -0.30% 泰铢 30.51 30.38 -0.44% 菲律宾披索<PHP= 51.000 50.960 -0.08% > 印尼卢比 13,617 13,640 +0.17% 印度卢比<INR=IN 71.2325 71.195 -0.05% > 马币 4.067 4.065 -0.05% 人民币 6.9303 6.9086 -0.31% 年内表现 币别 最新报 2019年收盘 今年涨跌 价 日圆 109.55 108.61 -0.86% 坡元 1.35 1.3444 -0.41%​​ 台币 30.006 30.106 +0.33% 韩元 1,168.1 1156.4 -1.00%​​ 泰铢 30.51 29.91 -1.97% 菲律宾披索 51.000 50.65 -0.69%​ 印尼卢比 13,617 13880 +1.93% 印度卢比 71.2325 71.38 +0.21%​ 马币 4.067 4.0890 +0.54% 人民币 6.9303 6.9632 +0.47%​ (完) (编译 张涛/王兴亚/孙茉莉; 审校 李春喜/郑茵)

EM ASIA FX-Virus worries, Lunar New Year break keep most currencies in tight band

23 Jan 2020

* Outbreak worries mount ahead of Lunar New Year * Indonesian rupiah firms ahead of cenbank rate decision * Bank Indonesia expected to stand pat, retain easing bias * Investors turn bullish on Indian rupee after 5 months - poll (Adds text, updates prices) By Rashmi Ashok Jan 23 Most Asian currencies were stuck in narrow ranges on Thursday ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, while fears of a China virus outbreak exerted pressure on some markets. A bellwether for risk sentiment in the region, the yuan weakened 0.2% while yields on China's 10-year government bonds tumbled, reflecting persistent worries about the outbreak as the death toll climbed. With hundreds of millions of Chinese expected to travel during the new year holiday beginning on Friday in China until Jan. 30, markets feared the transmission rate would accelerate. However, Chinese efforts to contain the spread, including putting a lockdown on Wuhan - a city of 11 million people at the epicentre of the crisis - has helped calm nerves and limit steeper losses. With no direction from Chinese markets and a number of other Asian countries set to close for the new year break, trade is likely to be muted next week. "Today then represents the last day for investors to rejig their portfolios properly ahead of all the market holidays," wrote Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst for Asia Pacific at OANDA. "It is thus, quite understandable that some money would be taken off the table until the true extent of the coronavirus issue becomes obvious. No one ever went broke taking a profit." Most Asian currencies were flat, while the Korean won and Thai baht eased 0.2% and 0.3%, respectively. The Indonesian rupiah strengthened marginally ahead of the central bank's policy meeting where Bank Indonesia is expected to keep rates on hold, allowing a series of previous cuts to filter into the economy, according to a Reuters poll. An improvement in Philippine economic growth at the year-end kept the peso afloat. However, even as the economy grew 6.4% in the final quarter, full-year growth slightly missed the government's target, nudging up bets for a February rate cut. BULLISH ON RUPEE A Reuters poll found that investors' positions on the Indian rupee turned bullish for the first time in more than five months. The pace of decline in India's auto sales has eased, while industrial production turned positive in November after a three-month fall, suggesting the country's economic growth is finally bottoming out, analysts at ANZ said in a note. However, they urged caution over a full recovery, given the combination of ongoing stresses in the financial sector, inadequate policy transmission and a recent spurt in inflation. The currency was the region's worst performer in 2019 after the won, weakening 2.3%. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0518 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 109.570 109.83 +0.24 Sing dlr 1.349 1.3484 -0.04 Taiwan dlr 30.006 29.998 -0.03 Korean won 1167.400 1164.6 -0.24 Baht 30.460 30.375 -0.28 Peso 50.990 50.96 -0.06 Rupiah 13617.000 13640 +0.17 Rupee 71.190 71.20 +0.01 Ringgit 4.064 4.064 +0.01 Yuan 6.925 6.9086 -0.23 Change so far in 2020 Currency Latest bid End 2019 Pct Move Japan yen 109.570 108.61 -0.88 Sing dlr 1.349 1.3444 -0.34 Taiwan dlr 30.006 30.106 +0.33 Korean won 1167.400 1156.40 -0.94 Baht 30.460 29.91 -1.81 Peso 50.990 50.65 -0.67 Rupiah 13617.000 13880 +1.93 Rupee 71.190 71.38 +0.27 Ringgit 4.064 4.0890 +0.63 Yuan 6.925 6.9632 +0.56 (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; Editing by Jacqueline Wong )

EM ASIA FX-Most units tepid amid virus outbreak; S.Korean won firms on solid data

22 Jan 2020

* China response to virus outbreak plugs Asia FX selling * Do not expect major reversal in Asian gains - analyst * The Philippine peso rebounds after six sessions of losses * Malaysia central bank policy rate decision due 0700 GMT (Adds text, updates prices) By Rashmi Ashok Jan 22 Most Asian units were trading subdued on Wednesday as concerns about a coronavirus outbreak in China kept risk appetite on the backfoot, although the South Korean won found support amid upbeat GDP data on the trade-reliant economy. The death toll from a new flu-like coronavirus in China rose to nine on Wednesday with 440 confirmed cases, health officials said. Sentiment, however, got a lift as China's response to the outbreak tempered fears of a global pandemic. The Chinese yuan steadied after weakening 0.6% in the previous session, although it still traded above the 6.9 level against the greenback. Most analysts say fears of a repeat of the SARS virus outbreak in 2003 that plunged the region into economic chaos are unfounded, as countries are now better equipped to fight an epidemic. "We do not see a huge reversal of Asian gains and expect merely modest unwinding of stretched positions," analysts at Maybank wrote in a note. However, investors are unlikely to embrace risky Asian assets anytime soon and will likely wait for further updates from Beijing before placing big bets. The World Health Organization meets later in the day to consider whether the outbreak is an international emergency. "If the authorities around the world show signs of failing to contain the coronavirus for an extended length of time, that could prompt a sustained risk-off period in the markets," wrote Han Tan, market analyst at FXTM. While most currencies were flat, the Philippine peso strengthened 0.5% after weakening for six consecutive sessions. The Thai baht flitted within a tight range as investors shrugged off data that showed the country's customs-cleared exports in December dropped 1.28% from last year, but came in better than as forecast in a Reuters poll. Malaysia's central bank is expected to stand pat on its benchmark interest rate at a policy review due at 0700 GMT, as global confidence about economic growth continues to improve in the wake of the Sino-U.S. Phase 1 trade pact. SOUTH KOREAN WON TICKS HIGHER The Korean won, while more sensitive to export numbers, traded 0.3% stronger after data showed that a surge in government spending helped the economy post its fastest quarterly growth in more than two years. "GDP growth rebounded more strongly than expected at the end of last year, and the economy should continue to stage a recovery over the coming quarters," Alex Holmes, Asia Economist at Capital Economics wrote in a note. "The strong outturn in Q4 means we no longer think that the Bank of Korea will cut rates again this year," he added. The central bank had cut its policy rate twice in 2019 in response to slow growth and low inflation. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0518 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 110.020 109.86 -0.15 Sing dlr 1.349 1.3499 +0.05 Taiwan dlr 30.002 29.998 -0.01 Korean won 1164.000 1167 +0.26 Baht 30.370 30.35 -0.07 Peso 50.850 51.08 +0.45 Rupiah 13660.000 13650 -0.07 Rupee 71.190 71.20 +0.01 Ringgit 4.072 4.0705 -0.04 Yuan 6.901 6.9050 +0.05 Change so far in 2020 Currency Latest bid End 2019 Pct Move Japan yen 110.020 108.61 -1.28 Sing dlr 1.349 1.3444 -0.36 Taiwan dlr 30.002 30.106 +0.35 Korean won 1164.000 1156.40 -0.65 Baht 30.370 29.91 -1.51 Peso 50.850 50.65 -0.39 Rupiah 13660.000 13880 +1.61 Rupee 71.190 71.38 +0.27 Ringgit 4.072 4.0890 +0.42 Yuan 6.901 6.9632 +0.90 (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

EM ASIA FX-Asian units fall on fears about China virus

21 Jan 2020

* Most Asian equities, base metals tumble on outbreak fears * Onshore yuan weakens 0.4%, offshore eases past 6.9/dollar * S. Korean won falls as Jan. 1-20 exports to China tumble (Adds text, updates prices) By Rashmi Ashok Jan 21 Most Asian currencies slipped on Tuesday, as concerns about a new strain of coronavirus in China took a toll on risk appetite. China reported a fourth death from the flu-like coronavirus as the number of cases continued to rise, sending jitters through Asian markets as hundreds of millions of Chinese are expected to travel for the Lunar New Year holiday. The onshore Chinese yuan slipped 0.4%, while the offshore unit weakened past 6.9 against the dollar, even as broader Asian equities and base metal prices dropped sharply on the news. Countries reporting the outbreak could face selling pressure on their currencies next week, wrote Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst for Asia Pacific at OANDA. "The rally in Asia Inc. FX markets is over for now until we have more clarity on SARS 2.0.," he said, referring to the deadly SARS virus outbreak in 2003 that plunged Hong Kong into recession and led to a slowdown in China. The South Korean won lost 0.7% to fall the most in the region and took an added hit after data showed exports to China in the first 20 days of January dropped 4.7%. Overall exports, however, fell at their slowest pace in a year, helped by a recovery in chip sales. Currencies closely linked to the yuan's movements, the Malaysian ringgit and Singapore dollar weakened 0.2% each. A Reuters poll showed Malaysia's central bank is largely expected to keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged at its meeting on Wednesday, saving ammunition for use for a possible economic slowdown later in the year. Meanwhile, the Thai baht held firm at 30.34 against the greenback. The baht was the region's only gainer, aside from the Japanese yen, which benefited from safe-haven demand during the spreading panic. On Monday, Thailand's central bank further relaxed mortgage lending rules to help home buyers, easing tighter regulations that were imposed last year to rein in bad debt. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0459 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 109.960 110.18 +0.20 Sing dlr 1.349 1.3466 -0.16 Taiwan dlr 29.977 29.960 -0.06 Korean won 1166.200 1158.1 -0.69 Baht 30.340 30.35 +0.03 Peso 50.980 50.96 -0.04 Rupiah 13660.000 13625 -0.26 Rupee 71.155 71.10 -0.08 Ringgit 4.068 4.058 -0.23 Yuan 6.894 6.8670 -0.39 Change so far in 2020 Currency Latest bid End 2019 Pct Move Japan yen 109.960 108.61 -1.23 Sing dlr 1.349 1.3444 -0.32 Taiwan dlr 29.977 30.106 +0.43 Korean won 1166.200 1156.40 -0.84 Baht 30.340 29.91 -1.42 Peso 50.980 50.65 -0.65 Rupiah 13660.000 13880 +1.61 Rupee 71.155 71.38 +0.32 Ringgit 4.068 4.0890 +0.53 Yuan 6.894 6.9632 +1.01 (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)

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