November 29, 2018 / 4:11 AM / 12 days ago

Asia FX sentiment improves on Sino-U.S. trade hopes, oil price slump: Reuters poll

(Reuters) - Short positions on most Asian currencies eased over the past two weeks, a Reuters poll showed on Thursday, on hopes for a thaw in U.S.-China trade friction at the upcoming G20 summit, and as a plunge in crude prices boosted major importers.

FILE PHOTO: A teller counts Indonesian rupiah bank notes at a money changer in Jakarta, Indonesia August 13, 2018. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

Bearish bets on the Indonesian rupiah IDR= fell the most among regional peers as they declined to their lowest since May, according to a survey of 12 fund managers, currency traders and analysts.

“Our view change (on the rupiah) is premised on the view that the central bank is now prioritizing stability over growth,” a Jakarta-based analyst said.

Meanwhile, short positions on the Indian rupee INR=IN slackened to their lowest since April.

The rupee, which is the worst performing Asian currency this year, has gained 5.2 percent so far this month, bolstered by falling oil prices and easing tensions between the Indian government and central bank.

Bearish bets on the Philippine peso PHP= dropped to their lowest since May.

The Thai baht THB=TH, however, bucked the trend with short positions increasing marginally.

Most Asian currencies have ticked up in the last two weeks on rising optimism that the United States and China would call a truce at the upcoming G20 summit in Argentina, while a collapse in oil prices boosted countries with large oil bills.

The poll was conducted before Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said late Wednesday that U.S. interest rates were just below neutral, which hinted that a rate hike cycle was nearing its end.

The Reuters survey is focused on what analysts believe are the current market positions in nine Asian emerging market currencies: the Chinese yuan, South Korean won, Singapore dollar, Indonesian rupiah, Taiwan dollar TWD=TP, Indian rupee, Philippine peso, Malaysian ringgit and the Thai baht.

The poll uses estimates of net long or short positions on a scale of minus 3 to plus 3.

A score of plus 3 indicates the market is significantly long U.S. dollars. The figures included positions held through non-deliverable forwards (NDFs).

Reporting by Aditya Soni in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Devika Symnath, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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