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Shriya Ramakrishnan

Bearish bets on Asian currencies ease on trade talk hopes: Reuters poll

26 Sep 2019

Investors scaled back short positions on currencies of trade-reliant Asian economies over the past two weeks, a Reuters poll showed, as optimism grew that the United States and China would clinch a trade deal at some level.

Australian shares end lower on Trump impeachment move, NZ inches up

25 Sep 2019

Sept 25 Australian shares closed lower on Wednesday as investor confidence was dealt a fresh blow after U.S. lawmakers called for an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, raising the risk of prolonged political infighting in the United States.

SE Asia Stocks-Skid amid mixed signals on trade talks progress

23 Sep 2019

* Thailand top loser with 0.8% drop * Philippines down for fifth session * Vietnam reverses course to end lower By Shriya Ramakrishnan Sept 23 Southeast Asian stock markets closed lower on Monday as a trade deal between the United States and China appeared to be elusive following mixed signals from recently concluded negotiations. U.S. and Chinese officials described deputy-level talks that ended in Washington last week as "productive" and "constructive", but Chinese officials unexpectedly cancelled a visit to U.S. farms, denting investor sentiment. Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump reiterated that he wanted a complete trade deal, not just an agreement for China to buy more U.S. agricultural goods. "Challenges to achieving a comprehensive deal remain, such as the issues of intellectual property and their enforcement, the amount of purchases by China and whether and when existing tariffs will be rolled back," analysts at Morgan Stanley said in a client note. Thai shares slipped 0.8%, extending losses into a fourth session, on weakness in telecom and financial stocks. Kasikornbank Pcl and telco firm Intouch Holdings Pcl shed 1.2% and 5.5%, respectively. Traders now await August manufacturing data, due on Tuesday, for further clues about the domestic economy. Manufacturing output likely dropped at a faster pace in August than in the previous month, a Reuters poll showed. Singapore shares, which are sensitive to trade developments, fell 0.5%, with financial and consumer stocks accounting for most of the losses. Singapore Exchange dropped as much as 1.6% to a near three-week low following a rating downgrade by brokerage firm Jefferies, while DBS Group Holdings dipped 1%. The city-state's core inflation gauge in August remained at a 3-year low, data showed, reinforcing expectations for policy easing this year. Philippine shares fell as much as 0.6% before cutting losses on the back of financial and consumer stocks. The index closed lower for a fifth straight session, shedding 0.1% on Monday. Investors now wait for a central bank policy meeting on Thursday, where Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is expected to cut interest rates for a third time this year, according to a Reuters poll, to support economic growth. "Monetary stimulus is still very much expected but what people are looking for is for the Philippines to maintain an above 6% GDP growth strength, and that is key for foreign inflows," said Rachelle C Cruz, analyst at Manila-based AP Securities. Vietnam stocks reversed course to drop 0.5%, dragged by financial and real estate names, while telecoms pushed the Indonesian index 0.4% lower. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3143.24 3159.68 -0.52 Bangkok 1622.79 1636.2 -0.82 Manila 7867.51 7871.11 -0.05 Jakarta 6206.199 6231.473 -0.41 Kuala Lumpur 1592.93 1597.41 -0.28 Ho Chi Minh 985.75 990.36 -0.47 Change so far in 2019 Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3143.24 3068.76 2.43 Bangkok 1622.79 1563.88 3.77 Manila 7867.51 7,466.02 5.38 Jakarta 6206.199 6,194.50 0.19 Kuala Lumpur 1592.93 1690.58 -5.78 Ho Chi Minh 985.75 892.54 10.44 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

SE Asia Stocks-Most fall on trade war uncertainty; Singapore leads declines

23 Sep 2019

* Philippines poised for fifth straight day of losses * Singapore dips ahead of inflation data * Vietnam sole gainer in the region By Shriya Ramakrishnan Sept 23 Most Southeast Asian shares fell on Monday, with Singapore taking the biggest hit, as investors remained wary on U.S.-China trade talk progress after mixed signals from ongoing negotiations. Both the United States and China described their talks as "productive" and "constructive", with the U.S. Trade Representative's office adding that high-level negotiations will take place in October, as previously planned. However, sentiment was dampened after Chinese officials unexpectedly cancelled a visit to U.S. farm states and President Donald Trump reiterated that he favoured a complete trade deal with China. "A China-U.S. trade deal in October is still considered possible but improbable. There are no concrete signs that the U.S. is ready for an interim trade deal that would lead to a tariff truce," according to a DBS Bank note. Leading declines in the region, Singapore's benchmark index dipped 0.4%, ahead of key inflation data release. Consumer and financial stocks dragged the index, with shares of heavyweights DBS Group Holdings Ltd and Capitaland Ltd falling between 0.3% and 0.9%. A Reuters poll expects the city-state's core inflation figures for August to remain unchanged from July, when inflation eased to its slowest pace in more than three years, prompting authorities to downgrade their full-year forecast amid firming bets for monetary policy easing. Philippine's index dropped 0.4% and were on track to extend losses for a fifth straight session, dragged by industrial and utility stocks. Power generation firm Aboitiz Power Corp and GT Capital Holdings Inc shed as much as 2.4% each. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is set to review its policy later this week. Governor Benjamin Diokno has flagged a further quarter-point interest rate reduction before the end of 2019 to shore up economic growth and said inflation forecast for September will guide its policy decision. Thai stocks shed about 0.4%, touching their lowest level in nearly four weeks, dragged by losses in the telecom and energy sector. Oil and gas firm PTT PCL and mobile operator Advanced Info Service Pcl fell 0.6% and 1.8%, respectively. Bucking the trend, Vietnam's benchmark index, which has outperformed most of its peers by a vast margin so far this year, gained 0.2%, lifted by consumer and energy stocks. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS as on 0355 GMT STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3147.28 3159.68 -0.39 Bangkok 1630.18 1636.2 -0.37 Manila 7842.51 7871.11 -0.36 Jakarta 6219.616 6231.473 -0.19 Kuala Lumpur 1592.23 1597.41 -0.32 Ho Chi Minh 992 990.36 0.17 Change so far in 2019 Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3147.28 3068.76 2.56 Bangkok 1630.18 1563.88 4.24 Manila 7842.51 7,466.02 5.04 Jakarta 6219.616 6,194.50 0.41 Kuala Lumpur 1592.23 1690.58 -5.82 Ho Chi Minh 992 892.54 11.14 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru ; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

EM ASIA FX-U.S.-China tariff gestures before talks lift Asian currencies

12 Sep 2019

* Taiwan dollar at strongest in nearly 2 months * Chinese onshore yuan rises 0.4% * Malaysian ringgit up before c.bank decision (Adds text, updates prices) By Shriya Ramakrishnan Sept 12 Concessions by Beijing and Washington before planned talks aimed at defusing their bitter trade dispute on Thursday sparked a rally among Asian currencies, with that of export-dependent Taiwan leading the gains. Others that had solid advances were the onshore yuan - which reached its strongest level in nearly two months - the baht and the rupee. U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to delay an additional increase in tariffs on Chinese goods by two weeks at the request of Chinese Vice Premier Liu He "as a gesture of good will." The move, which supported broader risk appetites, came a day after China extended an olive branch by announcing exemptions for 16 types of U.S. products from import tariffs. Stephen Innes, Asia-Pacific market strategist at AxiTrader, said in a client note that Trump's move to delay the tariff increase indicates "he too is willing to negotiate to put an end to this trade war spat". The Taiwan dollar advanced as much as 0.7% against the greenback. Any easing in tensions between the world's two largest economies would benefit Taiwan's trade-reliant economy, whose manufacturers have suffered from trade war disruptions and sluggish global demand for hi-tech gadgets like smartphones. Taiwan's finance ministry had flagged a gradual stabilisation in exports in the coming months, helped by the peak year-end season for gadgets and by more factories moving production back home from China amid the trade war. The baht, emerging Asia's top performing currency this year and the rupee both appreciated 0.4%. Markets await the release of inflation and industrial production figures for India later in the day, with a Reuters poll predicting retail inflation to rise to a 10-month high in August driven by higher food prices. The Singapore dollar, which is also highly sensitive to trade developments, rose 0.2%. The Malaysian ringgit traded 0.2% higher to the dollar before a monetary policy decision later in the day. A Reuters poll predicted a hold, but some economists predicted a rate cut. "It largely boils down to whether Bank Negara Malaysia will act pre-emptively again in order to cushion further downside risks as limited fiscal space means that monetary policy will have to do most of the heavy-lifting," said Mizuho Bank, which saw a 60% chance of a 25 basis point cut. Financial markets in South Korea were closed for a holiday. In offshore trading, the Korean won strengthened 0.3% against the dollar by 0509 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Change on the day at 0504 GMT Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 108.040 107.81 -0.21 Sing dlr 1.376 1.3791 +0.20 Taiwan dlr 31.053 31.220 +0.54 Baht 30.460 30.57 +0.36 Peso 51.950 52.07 +0.23 Rupiah 14020.000 14055 +0.25 Rupee 71.373 71.65 +0.39 Ringgit 4.170 4.178 +0.19 Yuan 7.087 7.1159 +0.41 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 108.040 109.56 +1.41 Sing dlr 1.376 1.3627 -0.99 Taiwan dlr 31.053 30.733 -1.03 Korean won 1191.000 1115.70 -6.32 Baht 30.460 32.55 +6.86 Peso 51.950 52.47 +1.00 Rupiah 14020.000 14375 +2.53 Rupee 71.373 69.77 -2.25 Ringgit 4.170 4.1300 -0.96 Yuan 7.087 6.8730 -3.02 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies in tight ranges as cbank decisions loom

11 Sep 2019

* Philippine peso weakens for a second day * Malaysia July factory output below forecast * S. Korean won strengthens (Adds text, updates prices) By Shriya Ramakrishnan Sept 11 Asian currencies clung to tight ranges on Wednesday as investors awaited directional cues from major central bank meetings although the prospect of fresh stimulus and signs of easing in Sino-U.S. trade tensions supported some export-focused units. Investor focus is now centred on to the European Central Bank's meeting on Thursday, which is expect to deliver a rate cut and set the tone for upcoming decisions by the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan next week. The Philippine peso extended its losses, falling 0.2% against the dollar to its lowest level in over a week after data on Tuesday showed the trade deficit widening. "Another interest rate cut by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas could compress real yields in the Philippines, potentially making onshore assets less attractive relative to regional peers with higher real yields," Han Tan, market analyst at FXTM said. "Still, the peso should find support over the remainder of 2019 from expected inflows in line with the government’s infrastructure spending plans." Tan said fresh stimulus globally would likely help prop up demand in some of the world’s biggest economies, which could have a positive spillover effect for the currencies of open and trade-dependent Asian economies. The South Korean won strengthened 0.2% to the dollar, buoyed by data which showed Asia's fourth-largest economy notched up a rare gain in exports for the first 10 days of this month. Capping the won's gains, however, were South Korean plans to file a complaint at the World Trade Organization over Japan's tighter export controls. The Indian rupee, which resumed trade after a holiday, edged lower, with investor focus shifting to inflation data due on Thursday. Economists polled by Reuters see retail inflation rising to a 10-month high in August on higher food prices, while staying below the central bank's medium-term target of 4%, prompting expectations for a rate cut next month. RINGGIT IN FOCUS The Malaysian Ringgit was marginally lower ahead of a monetary policy decision on Thursday. According to a Reuters poll, Malaysia's central bank is expected to keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged on Thursday, as it keeps room for potential easing later should global growth fall sharply. Amid a deterioration in the currency, foreign investors sold both Malaysian equities and debt securities by a total of 2.7 billion ringgit ($646.71 million) in August, reversing the buying trend in June and July, according to a note by UOB Group. The ringgit weakened 1.9% in August, and has lost about 1.1% so far this year. The Southeast Asian nation's industrial production index rose at its slowest pace in five years in July as mining output slowed, government data showed on Wednesday. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Change on the day at 0502 GMT Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 107.730 107.53 -0.19 Sing dlr 1.378 1.3797 +0.10 Taiwan dlr 31.208 31.230 +0.07 Korean won 1190.900 1193.3 +0.20 Baht 30.620 30.62 +0.00 Peso 52.130 52.02 -0.21 Rupiah 14050.000 14045 -0.04 Rupee 71.713 71.70 -0.02 Ringgit 4.175 4.17 -0.12 Yuan 7.112 7.1130 +0.01 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 107.730 109.56 +1.70 Sing dlr 1.378 1.3627 -1.13 Taiwan dlr 31.208 30.733 -1.52 Korean won 1190.900 1115.70 -6.31 Baht 30.620 32.55 +6.30 Peso 52.130 52.47 +0.65 Rupiah 14050.000 14375 +2.31 Rupee 71.713 69.77 -2.71 Ringgit 4.175 4.1300 -1.08 Yuan 7.112 6.8730 -3.36 ($1 = 4.1750 ringgit) (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam Holmes)

EM ASIA FX-Philippine peso slips on trade gap, other currencies tread water

10 Sep 2019

* China's Aug producer price index drops 0.8% * Philippine peso slips on widening trade deficit * Malaysian ringgit leads gains (Adds text, updates prices) By Shriya Ramakrishnan Sept 10 The Philippine peso weakened on Tuesday following poor trade figures, while most other emerging Asian currencies held tight ranges ahead of the European Central Bank meeting later this week. A sharp decline in Chinese factory gate prices also subdued appetite for riskier assets as investors remained nervous about the prospects of a global economic slowdown. Leading declines in the region, the Philippine peso traded 0.3% lower, following data that showed the Southeast Asian nation's trade deficit widened to $3.39 billion in July from $2.47 billion in the previous month. That has added further pressure to the Philippine economy, which grew at its slowest in 17 quarters in April-June. "As the trade deficit widens, the twin deficit status (together with fiscal deficit) will add further headwinds on the currency when risk sentiment turns sour," analysts from Mizuho Bank said in a client note referring to the peso. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno has flagged a further quarter-point interest rate reduction before the end of 2019, as it expects prolonged global monetary easing. In China, factory-gate prices shrank at the sharpest pace in three years in August, data showed on Tuesday, falling deeper into deflationary territory and reinforcing the urgency for Beijing to step up economic stimulus as the trade war with the United States intensifies. "The data shows the Chinese economy is still trending lower and there could be more rainy days ahead of us, so the risk sentiment is now being suppressed," Margaret Yang Yan, a market analyst at CMC Markets Singapore said. Currency market focus now turns to the ECB meeting, which is widely expected to introduce a package of stimulus measures and monetary easing on Thursday to boost an ailing regional economy. The U.S. Federal Reserve is also expected to cut interest rates next week. Among regional currencies, the Malaysian ringgit, which resumed trading after a holiday, advanced 0.2% against the greenback and was the top gainer in the region. The South Korean won erased earlier gains to trade 0.1% higher, while China's yuan was marginally higher. The Taiwan dollar edged higher, after data on Monday showed the trade-reliant economy's exports rose unexpectedly in August on strong demand for smartphones. Financial markets in India were closed for a holiday. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Change on the day at 0447 GMT Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 107.400 107.23 -0.16 Sing dlr 1.381 1.3793 -0.11 Taiwan dlr 31.219 31.250 +0.10 Korean won 1191.300 1193 +0.14 Baht 30.650 30.63 -0.07 Peso 52.000 51.86 -0.27 Rupiah 14025.000 14025 +0.00 Ringgit 4.170 4.178 +0.19 Yuan 7.117 7.1210 +0.06 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 107.400 109.56 +2.01 Sing dlr 1.381 1.3627 -1.31 Taiwan dlr 31.219 30.733 -1.56 Korean won 1191.300 1115.70 -6.35 Baht 30.650 32.55 +6.20 Peso 52.000 52.47 +0.90 Rupiah 14025.000 14375 +2.50 Rupee 71.700 69.77 -2.69 Ringgit 4.170 4.1300 -0.96 Yuan 7.117 6.8730 -3.43 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam Holmes)

EM ASIA FX-Most Asian currencies up as Powell signals further easing; China's yuan slips

09 Sep 2019

* China's central bank cuts RRR by 50 bps for all banks * S. Korean won leads gains * Taiwan dollar edges higher ahead of trade data (Adds text, updates prices) By Shriya Ramakrishnan Sept 9 Most emerging Asian currencies strengthened against the dollar on Monday, as remarks from the U.S. Federal Reserve chief reaffirmed expectations for another rate cut, while the yuan eased after Beijing's latest stimulus measures. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said on Friday the central bank will continue to act "as appropriate" to sustain economic expansion, a phrase that investors have read as signaling further interest-rate reductions ahead. The dollar index, measured against a basket of six major currencies eased on Friday after Powell's remarks and last traded little changed. The case for more stimulus from major central banks was underlined by a soft U.S. jobs report on Friday and data on the weekend showing an unexpected drop in Chinese exports as policymakers look to stave off a global recession. Mahesh Sethuraman, Deputy Head of Global Sales Trading at Saxo Capital Markets, said the relief for emerging currencies may not last long as worries over a worlwide manufacturing slowdown weigh on risk sentiment. The South Korean won was the top performer in region, strengthening 0.5% against the greenback to its highest level in more than a month. The Taiwan dollar edged higher ahead of the release of trade figures which are expected to show that exports contracted for a second straight month in August. Malaysian financial markets were closed for a public holiday. RRR CUT WEIGHS ON YUAN The Chinese yuan eased 0.2%, after the country's central bank on Friday cut the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves for the third time this year. The move is expected to release 900 billion yuan ($126.35 billion) in liquidity to shore up the flagging economy. Data released over the weekend also showed China's exports unexpectedly fell in August as shipments to the United States slowed sharply, pointing to further weakness in the world's second-largest economy. "At the end of the day, China cannot offset all the pain of a slowing economy and the trade war with just rate cuts. There is only so much room that they have to cut rates and don’t forget leverage is still a problem for China,” Sethuraman said. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Change on the day at 0545 GMT Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 106.870 106.9 +0.03 Sing dlr 1.381 1.3810 +0.04 Taiwan dlr 31.226 31.257 +0.10 Korean won 1191.000 1196.9 +0.50 Baht 30.640 30.66 +0.07 Peso 51.780 51.86 +0.15 Rupiah 14062.000 14090 +0.20 Rupee 71.570 71.72 +0.21 Yuan 7.129 7.1150 -0.20 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 106.870 109.56 +2.52 Sing dlr 1.381 1.3627 -1.29 Taiwan dlr 31.226 30.733 -1.58 Korean won 1191.000 1115.70 -6.32 Baht 30.640 32.55 +6.23 Peso 51.780 52.47 +1.33 Rupiah 14062.000 14375 +2.23 Rupee 71.570 69.77 -2.52 Ringgit 4.178 4.1300 -1.15 Yuan 7.129 6.8730 -3.59 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

Australian shares climb on trade talk hopes, NZ closes at record high

06 Sep 2019

* NZ benchmark sees best week in over 10 yrs (Updates to close)

Australia, NZ shares track global rally as Sino-U.S. tensions ease

06 Sep 2019

Sept 6 Australian shares advanced on Friday, as an apparent thaw in the drawn-out Sino-U.S. trade dispute and strong U.S. economic data supported appetite for riskier assets.

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