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Shriya Ramakrishnan

Bullish bets on Asian currencies recede; yuan bears re-emerge

05 Dec 2019

Investor sentiment towards most Asian currencies, especially the Chinese yuan, turned sour over the past two weeks, a Reuters poll showed, on fading hopes for a quick truce in the Sino-U.S. trade spat ahead of impending tariffs on China.

EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies shrug off China data as trade uncertainty looms

02 Dec 2019

* Indonesian rupiah weakens * Thai Nov inflation rate quickens to 0.21% * Indonesia Nov inflation slows (Adds text, updates prices) By Shriya Ramakrishnan Dec 2 Emerging Asian currencies weakened against the dollar on Monday, as uncertainty around an initial Sino-U.S. trade deal offset upbeat economic data from China. Caution pervaded in markets, with a deadline on an imposition of additional 15% tariffs on Chinese products by the United States just two weeks away, and Beijing demanding scrapping of existing tariffs as part of the trade deal. Data over the weekend showed factory activity in China unexpectedly returned to growth in November for the first time in seven months, as domestic demand picked up on Beijing's accelerated stimulus measures to steady growth. "I think developments on a phase one trade deal is still something markets pay more attention to. The improvement in China's PMI were welcomed... but it doesn't change the fact that Chinese growth will still be impacted by the ongoing trade war," Khoon Goh, head of Asia research at ANZ Banking Group (Singapore) said. South Korea's won strengthened as much as 0.3%, before erasing gains. The trade-reliant economy's exports in November plunged for a 12th month in a row. China's yuan edged up after the central bank's governor said that China would not resort to competitive devaluation of the yuan and would aim to keep it broadly stable. The Malaysian ringgit, Singapore dollar and the Thai baht eased 0.1% each. Thailand's headline consumer price index rose 0.21% in November, but remained below Bank of Thailand's 1%-4% target range for a sixth straight month. A jump in oil prices put pressure on the region's net importers. The Indonesian rupiah weakened 0.2%, while the Philippine peso dipped 0.1%. Indonesia's annual inflation rate slowed for a third straight month in a row, its weakest pace since April, the country's statistics bureau said on Monday. THE INDIAN RUPEE The Indian rupee was little changed at 71.71 per dollar. Data on Friday showed India's annual economic growth slowed to its weakest pace since 2013 in the July-September quarter, putting pressure on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speed up reforms. Markets now await Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) policy meeting this week, where a 25 basis points cut is widely expected, though economists now see only a marginal impact from monetary easing to the economy. "We think the economy needs more than fiscal or monetary stimulus," analysts at ING said in a note on Sunday. "Accelerated economic and banking sector reforms and strong infrastructure investment are needed to regain the 7%-8% growth potential." India will unveil a series of infrastructure projects this month as part of a plan to invest 100 trillion rupees ($1.39 trillion) in the sector over the next five years, the finance minister said on Saturday. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Change on the day at 0530 GMT Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 109.620 109.51 -0.10 Sing dlr 1.368 1.3672 -0.06 Taiwan dlr 30.490 30.513 +0.08 Korean won 1182.100 1181.2 -0.08 Baht 30.230 30.21 -0.07 Peso 50.880 50.84 -0.08 Rupiah 14121.000 14100 -0.15 Rupee 71.710 71.74 +0.04 Ringgit 4.178 4.175 -0.06 Yuan 7.031 7.0320 +0.02 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 109.620 109.56 -0.05 Sing dlr 1.368 1.3627 -0.39 Taiwan dlr 30.490 30.733 +0.80 Korean won 1182.100 1115.70 -5.62 Baht 30.230 32.55 +7.67 Peso 50.880 52.47 +3.13 Rupiah 14121.000 14375 +1.80 Rupee 71.710 69.77 -2.71 Ringgit 4.178 4.1300 -1.14 Yuan 7.031 6.8730 -2.24 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies trapped in tight range amid Sino-U.S. trade deal doubts

29 Nov 2019

* Philippine peso top performer of the week * Ringgit poised for third weekly decline * S.Korean won weakens, cenbank keeps rates (Adds text, updates prices) By Shriya Ramakrishnan Nov 29 Emerging Asian currencies were stuck in a tight range on Friday as investors fretted whether a new U.S. law backing Hong Kong protesters could derail trade negotiations between Washington and Beijing. U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed into law Congressional legislation backing the protesters, prompting Beijing to warn of "firm counter measures". China's yuan eked out marginal gains against the dollar in thin trade, while the Thai baht was largely flat ahead of the release of October trade data. The South Korean won weakened 0.2% to the dollar, after the central bank left interest rates unchanged at 1.25%, as expected, and trimmed its growth and inflation forecasts for the year, cementing a case for more policy easing next year. "A cut to 1.0% would start to raise questions about whether the central bank is approaching the limits of what can be achieved through conventional policy," Alex Holmes, Asia economist at Capital Economics, said in a note. Market focus will now shift to China's factory activity data, due on Saturday, which is expected to have contracted for a seventh straight month in November amid sluggish domestic demand, a Reuters poll showed. The Indonesian rupiah eased 0.2%, while the Malaysian ringgit ticked higher but was poised for a third straight weekly fall. The Indian rupee dipped 0.2% ahead of the release of economic growth figures for the July-September quarter. A Reuters poll showed the economy probably expanded at its weakest pace in more than six years in the last quarter, hurt by a slowdown in consumer demand and private investment. PHILIPPINE PESO TOPS WEEK The peso strengthened as much as 0.2% before erasing gains, but remained on track for a weekly gain of 0.2%, making it the region's top performing currency for the week. Earlier this week, local media quoted https://www.philstar.com/business/2019/11/26/1971802/rate-cut-still-possible-yearend-diokno Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno as saying another rate cut was still possible during the year's last policy meeting in December. The economy clocked surprisingly stronger growth in the third quarter, giving the central bank more leeway to stand pat on interest rate cuts after a 75 basis point cut in total this year. "Should inflation data for November defy market expectations and point to a marked slowdown, that could prompt the central bank to resume its monetary easing at its next policy decision," said Han Tan, a market analyst at FXTM. Rising real yields and a narrowing trade deficit have largely propped up the peso so far this quarter, Tan added. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Change on the day at 0639 GMT Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 109.490 109.5 +0.01 Sing dlr 1.366 1.3656 -0.03 Taiwan dlr 30.505 30.505 +0.00 Korean won 1181.200 1179 -0.19 Baht 30.220 30.232 +0.04 Peso 50.830 50.81 -0.04 Rupiah 14110.000 14085 -0.18 Rupee 71.718 71.61 -0.15 Ringgit 4.171 4.172 +0.02 Yuan 7.033 7.0348 +0.02 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 109.490 109.56 +0.06 Sing dlr 1.366 1.3627 -0.24 Taiwan dlr 30.505 30.733 +0.75 Korean won 1181.200 1115.70 -5.55 Baht 30.220 32.55 +7.71 Peso 50.830 52.47 +3.23 Rupiah 14110.000 14375 +1.88 Rupee 71.718 69.77 -2.72 Ringgit 4.171 4.1300 -0.98 Yuan 7.033 6.8730 -2.28 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies hesitate on trade deal uncertainty

27 Nov 2019

* Singapore dollar weakens * Thailand Oct MPI falls * China's Oct industrial profits dips 9.9% y/y (Adds text, updates prices) By Shriya Ramakrishnan Nov 27 Emerging Asian currencies traded in tight ranges against the dollar on Wednesday, as investors were reluctant to make big bets on the outcome of U.S.-China trade talks. U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday said Washington was in the "final throes" of work on a deal that would defuse a 16-month trade war with Beijing, but reiterated U.S. support for anti-government protesters in Hong Kong, a huge sore point with China. "..the bigger risk is an augmented form of "bait and switch" with regards to U.S.-China trade conflict, where investors seduced by a rapidly progressing 'Phase-1' trade deal are blind-sided by the escalating tech tensions between U.S. and China," analysts at Miuzho Bank said in a note. China' yuan was marginally higher, but gains were capped by weak industrial profit readings, suggesting business conditions in the world's second-largest economy are continuing to deteriorate amid weak domestic demand and U.S. tariff pressure. Despite signs of progress from both sides on a trade deal, markets have been on edge amid a lack of concrete details on talks and clarity on other sticking points such as a rollback of existing tariffs imposed by U.S. - sought by Beijing as part of the deal. The Indonesian rupiah edged lower, while the Singapore dollar weakened 0.2%. Indonesia's Vice Finance Minister on Wednesday said GDP growth for Southeast Asia's largest economy is now seen at 5.05%, compared to its previous estimate of 5.08%. The Philippine peso depreciated as much as 0.2%, before erasing some losses, while the Indian rupee strengthened 0.11%. THAI BAHT The Thai baht, emerging Asia's top performing currency so far this year, weakened slightly against the dollar on the day. On Tuesday, the Thai government rolled out stimulus measures to inject more than 100 billion baht ($3.31 billion) into the economy, whose exports have come under pressure to global trade tensions and a strong baht. "THB remains firm despite some sell off by foreign investors in bonds and equities in reaction to the announcement of fiscal stimulus program," Mahesh Sethuraman, Deputy Head of Global Sales Trading at Saxo Capital Markets said. "The healthy current account balance will continue to keep THB relatively stronger even if we see some pullback against USD. If we look at the 5 year chart, the thai baht is trading very close to a 5-year low….so this is just noise." Thailand's manufacturing production index in October fell 8.45% from a year earlier, dragged down by lower production of cars, petroleum and steel, the industry ministry said on Wednesday. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Change on the day at 0531 GMT Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 109.130 109.03 -0.09 Sing dlr 1.366 1.3639 -0.16 Taiwan dlr 30.504 30.512 +0.03 Korean won 1176.600 1176.7 +0.01 Baht 30.226 30.19 -0.12 Peso 50.890 50.83 -0.12 Rupiah 14090.000 14080 -0.07 Rupee 71.408 71.48 +0.11 Ringgit 4.180 4.181 +0.02 Yuan 7.030 7.0322 +0.03 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 109.130 109.56 +0.39 Sing dlr 1.366 1.3627 -0.25 Taiwan dlr 30.504 30.733 +0.75 Korean won 1176.600 1115.70 -5.18 Baht 30.226 32.55 +7.69 Peso 50.890 52.47 +3.10 Rupiah 14090.000 14375 +2.02 Rupee 71.408 69.77 -2.29 Ringgit 4.180 4.1300 -1.20 Yuan 7.030 6.8730 -2.23 ($1 = 30.1900 baht) (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill)

EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies checked by U.S.-China trade deal uncertainty

25 Nov 2019

* Philippine peso leads gains * Singapore oct core inflation eases * Taiwan dollar flat ahead of industrial output data (Adds text, updates prices) By Shriya Ramakrishnan Nov 25 Asian currency markets were shackled in a tight space on Monday, with investors content to hold most of their bets in light of uncertainty over progress made in U.S.-China trade talks. Over the weekend, U.S. national security adviser Robert O'Brien said that an initial agreement is still possible by the end of the year, but warned Washington would not turn a blind eye to what happens in Hong Kong. "The currency market is a bit fatigued on the trade side – tired of the alternating hot and cold headlines....the expectations are quite low right now in terms of what the deal would involve," Sim Moh Siong, FX strategist at Bank of Singapore said. Moves in currency pairs were slight, with the Philippine peso managing to tack on 0.3% against the dollar, while the Chinese yuan firmed 0.1%. "I don’t know whether to use the word cautiously optimistic because we were there before, and then we went to cautiously pessimistic...markets seem to now be stuck in a limbo territory," Siong added, referring to the small gains in the market. The Singapore dollar barely reacted to key inflation readings for the city-state, while the Indian rupee edged higher. Data on Monday showed that Singapore' core inflation rate eased to its weakest level in over three years in October. The Taiwan dollar traded flat ahead of the release of industrial output figures for October, while the Thai baht was off 0.1%. The country's central bank on Saturday said it would ease rules governing the foreign exchange market and international reserves, giving it more scope to tackle the baht's strength following a series of rate cuts. The baht has risen nearly 8% on the dollar this year, underpinned by Thailand's large current account surplus, high foreign reserves and low foreign debt. SOUTH KOREAN WON The South Korean won advanced 0.3% against the dollar. Han Tan, a market analyst at FXTM, said the won was likely being supported by market expectations the Bank of Korea will keep its benchmark interest rates unchanged at its policy meeting on Friday. The BOK cut the policy rate by 25 bps in October to prop up a stuttering economy. "The fact that the won has been Asia’s most volatile currency in recent weeks underscores the fluctuating levels of optimism surrounding the U.S.-China trade deal," Han Tan, Market Analyst at FXTM said. The won, one of the most sensitive currencies to trade-related headlines given its reliance on tech exports, has lost just over 5.0% against the dollar this year. Change on the day at 0553 GMT Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 108.810 108.64 -0.16 Sing dlr 1.364 1.3641 +0.04 Taiwan dlr 30.512 30.517 +0.02 Korean won 1176.000 1178.9 +0.25 Baht 30.210 30.18 -0.10 Peso 50.780 50.91 +0.26 Rupiah 14085.000 14080 -0.04 Rupee 71.618 71.71 +0.13 Ringgit 4.173 4.17 -0.07 Yuan 7.034 7.0405 +0.10 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 108.810 109.56 +0.69 Sing dlr 1.364 1.3627 -0.06 Taiwan dlr 30.512 30.733 +0.72 Korean won 1176.000 1115.70 -5.13 Baht 30.210 32.55 +7.75 Peso 50.780 52.47 +3.33 Rupiah 14085.000 14375 +2.06 Rupee 71.618 69.77 -2.58 Ringgit 4.173 4.1300 -1.03 Yuan 7.034 6.8730 -2.28 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

GrainCorp-ANZ Terminals deal passes major regulatory hurdle, shares jump

15 Nov 2019

GrainCorp on Friday passed a major regulatory hurdle to sell its Australian bulk liquid terminals business to ANZ Terminals, propelling its shares around 8% higher.

UPDATE 2-Australia's GrainCorp slides to biggest loss since 1998 as drought shrivels output

14 Nov 2019

* But shares up 3.8% on relief rally - analyst (Adds details, share movement, analyst comment)

Healthcare, trade hopes pull Australian stocks higher, NZ rises

11 Nov 2019

Nov 11 Australian stocks tracked regional gains on Monday on optimism about U.S.-China trade talks progress, while domestic focus centred on healthcare after a reported broker upgrade on heavyweight CSL lifted the broader sector to record highs.

Australian shares flat as gold miners slump, NZ rises

08 Nov 2019

Nov 8 Australian shares were little changed in early Friday trade, as gains in the energy sector were outweighed by declines in resources stocks tracking weaker commodity prices.

Banking stocks lift Australia market, NZ edges lower

07 Nov 2019

Nov 7 Australian shares rose on Thursday as gains in financials, led by the country's third largest lender National Australia Bank, eclipsed losses in the mining and energy sectors.

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