Asian currencies subdued as US share rally boosts dollar

Reuters Dec 27 | Updated on December 27, 2018 Published on December 27, 2018

Bubbling trade concerns push yuan to 11-month low.   -  Reuters

Chinese currency and stock markets have been jittery ahead of July 6. File Photo   -  Reuters

Most emerging Asian currencies slipped on Thursday, as the dollar retained the strength it gained overnight after a dramatic Wall Street rally. Strong holiday sales data and Washington's efforts to assuage investor concerns led to a buying spree, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average soaring more than 1,000 points for the first time, following an earlier rout.

The surge lifted Asian shares but not currencies, most of which barely moved in light year-end trade. However, the Philippine peso and South Korean won firmed 0.3 per cent and 0.4 per cent, respectively.

Market participants were reluctant to take on risk in the face of uncertainty regarding the US government shut-down and indications of slackening global growth. “The muted reaction is due to the lingering uncertainty as to whether we are about to see the last of the volatility introduced by politics in Washington,” Sim Moh Siong, FX strategist at Bank of Singapore said.

“Market is still quite wary in terms of US policy uncertainty so unless we see a change in style of leadership, it will keep investors on the sidelines,” Sim added.

Rising US borrowing costs, global slowdown concerns and the Sino-US trade war have drained capital from emerging markets during this year, putting most Asian currencies on track for heavy losses in 2018.

On Thursday, the rupee, the worst performing Asian unit this year, slipped 0.2 per cent as a 8 per cent surge in oil prices on Wednesday threatened to widen the country's fiscal deficit. India is among the top oil importers in Asia. The Chinese yuan and Indonesian rupiah both edged 0.1 per cent lower.

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Published on December 27, 2018
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