Edition:
United States

Devika Syamnath

EM ASIA FX-Most Asia currencies subdued before China data, Thai baht falters

Jul 12 2019

* Thai baht set for worst week since early March * All eyes on China June trade data, widely seen to fall * Dismal Singapore Q2 growth stokes recession fears (Adds text, updates prices) By Devika Syamnath July 12 Most Asian currencies weakened on Friday as renewed doubts about the chances of a Sino-U.S. trade deal dampened appetite for riskier assets. Investors were also anxiously waiting on trade data for June from China later in the day, which is expected to show weak exports in yet another sign of the broadening economic impact of the trade war. The Thai baht weakened sharply after its central bank clamped down on speculative foreign inflows to temper rapid gains in Asia's best performing currency this year. The currency was 0.8% lower on the day and set for its worst week since early March. China's yuan was broadly unchanged ahead of the June trade data. Overall, currency traders in the region were uneasy after U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that "China is letting us down" on promises it made on buying agricultural products from American farmers. The South Korea won was also under pressure, down 0.4%, as a trade row between Seoul and Tokyo showed no signs of being resolved. South Korea on Thursday warned https://www.reuters.com/article/us-southkorea-japan-laborers/south-korea-steps-up-effort-to-get-us-help-in-export-row-with-japan-idUSKCN1U6019 the U.S. of potential fallout from "undesirable" Japanese restrictions on exports of high-tech material to South Korea. Monetary policy was another consideration for the regional markets, as analysts suggested most Southeast Asian economies were poised to jump on the policy easing bandwagon after the U.S. Federal Reserve offered clear signs of a near-term rate cut earlier this week. "Central banks in Korea and Indonesia are likely to be next in line to ease policy," said ING in a note to clients. "Korea's growth is poised for more weakness ahead from export declines," it added. South Korea's trade-reliant economy is among the most affected by trade and tech war pressures. DISMAL SINGAPORE DATA RAISES RECESSION FEARS Singapore's dollar was 0.1% lower after dismal second quarter growth data that missed forecasts by a wide margin. The economy grew at its slowest pace in a decade in the second quarter, raising bets that a recession and monetary policy easing were on the horizon. The city state's export-driven economy leaves it particularly exposed to trade war ructions. "The Singapore dollar has looked more wobbly with chat mounting of an out of meeting policy adjustment from the central bank – we wouldn't be surprised - and some regional underperformance here is not to be dismissed," said ING in a note. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0519 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 108.320 108.48 +0.15 Sing dlr 1.358 1.3568 -0.05 Taiwan dlr 31.030 31.026 -0.01 Korean won 1177.600 1173.5 -0.35 Baht 30.870 30.61 -0.84 Peso 51.180 51.19 +0.02 Rupiah 14075.000 14060 -0.11 Rupee 68.535 68.44 -0.14 Ringgit 4.111 4.114 +0.07 Yuan 6.872 6.8740 +0.03 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 108.320 109.56 +1.14 Sing dlr 1.358 1.3627 +0.38 Taiwan dlr 31.030 30.733 -0.96 Korean won 1177.600 1115.70 -5.26 Baht 30.870 32.55 +5.44 Peso 51.180 52.47 +2.52 Rupiah 14075.000 14375 +2.13 Rupee 68.535 69.77 +1.80 Ringgit 4.111 4.1300 +0.46 Yuan 6.872 6.8730 +0.02 (Reporting by Devika Syamnath in Bengaluru Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

EM ASIA FX-Dovish Powell boosts Asian currencies, Korean won leads

Jul 11 2019

* Sees EM Asia front and centre of Fed inspired optimism - OCBC * Korean won gains most in region * Regional monetary policy could follow Fed lead - DBS (Adds text, updates prices) By Devika Syamnath July 11 Emerging Asian currencies strengthened against a weaker dollar on Thursday after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell all but confirmed a month-end rate cut to prop-up a cooling economy. Global risk assets, including the region's currencies, welcomed the prospect of monetary support from the Fed, after spending most of this week on the edge after solid U.S. jobs data last week doused hopes for a large rate cut at its July 30-31 meeting. Powell, in his congressional testimony on Wednesday, confirmed that the U.S. economy is still under threat from disappointing factory activity, tame inflation and a simmering trade war. June inflation readings from the world's biggest economy are also scheduled later in the day. "Looking forward, EM/Asia expected to be at the front and centre of central bank inspired optimism. If this persists, expect some room for USD-Asia to search lower," OCBC said in a note to clients. The Korean won advanced 0.8% against the dollar and touched its strongest this week, managing to shake off recent pressure from trade anxiety after Japan imposed export curbs on key materials used by South Korean technology firms. Thailand's baht, the best regional performer this year, gained 0.8%. China's yuan extended gains to a second session and was 0.2% higher in the wake of the dovish Fed. The resumption of trade talks between United States and China this week after a hiatus in May took some strain off the currency. LOCAL POLICY MAY FOLLOW FED LEAD Powell's move could dampen interest rates across the emerging markets space, including Asia, said DBS in a note. "Odds of the Bank of Korea and Bank Indonesia easing next week have ticked up." Singapore's second-quarter growth numbers are slated for Friday and will be closely watched, with the city-state's economy among the most exposed to trade war ructions. "High frequency data have been weak and there has been increasing speculation that the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) would ease by October," said DBS. Singapore's dollar climbed 0.2% to its strongest against the greenback in a week. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0522 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 107.930 108.46 +0.49 Sing dlr 1.355 1.3580 +0.24 Taiwan dlr 31.025 31.160 +0.44 Korean won 1171.700 1181.6 +0.84 Baht 30.580 30.81 +0.75 Peso 51.220 51.3 +0.16 Rupiah 14060.000 14125 +0.46 Rupee 68.355 68.57 +0.31 Ringgit 4.122 4.137 +0.36 Yuan 6.864 6.8750 +0.17 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 107.930 109.56 +1.51 Sing dlr 1.355 1.3627 +0.58 Taiwan dlr 31.025 30.733 -0.94 Korean won 1171.700 1115.70 -4.78 Baht 30.580 32.55 +6.44 Peso 51.220 52.47 +2.44 Rupiah 14060.000 14375 +2.24 Rupee 68.355 69.77 +2.07 Ringgit 4.122 4.1300 +0.19 Yuan 6.864 6.8730 +0.14 (Reporting by Devika Syamnath in Bengaluru Editing by Shri Navaratnam )

New Zealand watchdog sues Westpac arm over failure to disclose credit card terms

Jul 11 2019

New Zealand's commerce commission has sued Westpac's local arm for not revealing key terms to thousands of credit card clients, in the latest sign of heightened regulatory scrutiny for Australian banks operating across the Tasman Sea.

EM ASIA FX-Investors stay on sidelines as all eyes turn to Powell

Jul 10 2019

* 6.90 to dollar may be line in sand for China's yuan - Maybank * Won weakens, S.Korea says Japan export curbs may be prolonged * Baht slips, c.bank preparing steps to control short-term inflows (Adds text, updates prices) By Devika Syamnath July 10 Emerging Asian currencies made only small moves on Wednesday, as investors waited for congressional testimony by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell for clues on the odds of a near-term easing of U.S. monetary policy. There was no common trend in Asian units, with both marginal losses and gains against the dollar which firmed on higher Treasury yields before Powell's remarks later on Wednesday. Strong U.S. jobs data last week doused market hopes for a large rate cut at the July 30-31 Fed meeting, but a small cut is still widely expected. "With odds of a 50bps cut at the end of the month now essentially ruled out, intra-day extension of discretionary USD strength may stall ahead of Powell's testimony before Congress," said OCBC in a note. The Taiwan dollar, which rose against the dollar on Tuesday, was again up, by 0.1%. Data on Monday showed exports from trade-dependent Taiwan unexpectedly grew for the first time in eight months in June. The South Korean won slipped 0.1%. In the latest development in a trade dispute, South Korea's president said Japan's export curbs on key materials used by South Korean technology firms could be prolonged. India's rupee was 0.1% weaker. U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday reiterated his complaints that Indian tariffs on U.S. products were unacceptable. The Thai baht declined 0.1%. Minutes from a June policy meeting showed Thailand's central bank is preparing measures to control short-term capital inflows, to temper rapid strength in the baht that may be inconsistent with economic fundamentals. YUAN'S LINE IN THE SAND? China's yuan was marginally higher at 6.887 after U.S. and Chinese officials held a "constructive" phone conversation on Tuesday, marking fresh attempts to resolve differences over a bruising tariff exchange that has weighed on global growth. A Maybank note said "With trade talks resuming and Trump so sensitive to yuan depreciation, 6.90 may well be the line in the sand for now." June inflation numbers out of China raised concerns that slowing manufacturing activity amid the U.S.-China trade war was rubbing off on growth in the world's no. 2 economy. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0521 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 108.870 108.84 -0.03 Sing dlr 1.362 1.3618 +0.01 Taiwan dlr 31.143 31.181 +0.12 Korean won 1181.700 1180.5 -0.10 Baht 30.860 30.82 -0.13 Peso 51.500 51.43 -0.14 Rupiah 14135.000 14125 -0.07 Rupee 68.585 68.54 -0.07 Ringgit 4.140 4.141 +0.02 Yuan 6.886 6.8880 +0.04 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 108.870 109.56 +0.63 Sing dlr 1.362 1.3627 +0.08 Taiwan dlr 31.143 30.733 -1.32 Korean won 1181.700 1115.70 -5.59 Baht 30.860 32.55 +5.48 Peso 51.500 52.47 +1.88 Rupiah 14135.000 14375 +1.70 Rupee 68.585 69.77 +1.73 Ringgit 4.140 4.1300 -0.24 Yuan 6.886 6.8730 -0.18 (Reporting by Devika Syamnath in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

EM ASIA FX-Investors await rate cut clues from Fed chair testimony

Jul 09 2019

* Ringgit weakens ahead of cenbank rate decision * Won firms as S.Korea, Japan plan talks on trade dispute -media * Thai baht outperformance this year out of sync with weak economic data -ING (Adds text, updates prices) By Devika Syamnath July 9 Asian currencies were subdued against the dollar on Tuesday as investors focused on U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's testimony before Congress later this week for clues on monetary policy. Regional currencies weakened in the previous session after surging U.S. jobs growth in June dampened expectations the Fed will deliver a large interest rate cut later in July. "Market reflux post-NFP (U.S. nonfarm payrolls) may persist until we get more potential clarity from Fed guidance tonight," OCBC bank said in a note to clients. "Overall, expect the USD to continue to flex against both the majors and the Asians," it added. Malaysia's ringgit was 0.1% lower ahead of a central bank rate decision later on Tuesday. Bank Negara Malaysia is expected to hold its benchmark rate steady to assess economic risks and the effect of a previous rate cut.. Indonesia's rupiah declined 0.1%. It has gained nearly 3% since late May when it touched its weakest level in 2019, prompting the central bank to affirm its support for the unit. South Korea's won gained 0.2% after the sharpest losses among its regional peers in the previous session and against the backdrop of a trade dispute with Japan. Talks are planned for as early as this week on Japan's tighter export curbs on key materials used by South Korean makers of electronic chips and smartphone displays, the Yomiuri newspaper said on Tuesday. China's yuan was unchanged ahead of its June trade and inflation readings later this week. 'OUT OF SYNC' BAHT The Thai baht weakened 0.1% on the day but remained the region's best performer this year. "Clearly, the THB performance is out of sync with the underlying weak economic trends," ING said in a note, adding that domestic politics continued to overhang the economy three months after a general election. Domestic demand remains soft and global trade wars have crimped exports, prompting the central bank to increasingly hint at a policy easing. Qi Gao, Asia FX Strategist at Scotiabank, said investors are worried about potential measures after the central bank governor said on Monday they had sometimes taken action on excessive moves in the baht. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0450 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 108.720 108.71 -0.01 Sing dlr 1.360 1.3596 -0.03 Taiwan dlr 31.192 31.196 +0.01 Korean won 1180.100 1182 +0.16 Baht 30.820 30.78 -0.13 Peso 51.330 51.36 +0.06 Rupiah 14115.000 14105 -0.07 Rupee 68.795 68.66 -0.20 Ringgit 4.142 4.139 -0.06 Yuan 6.882 6.8827 +0.01 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 108.720 109.56 +0.77 Sing dlr 1.360 1.3627 +0.20 Taiwan dlr 31.192 30.733 -1.47 Korean won 1180.100 1115.70 -5.46 Baht 30.820 32.55 +5.61 Peso 51.330 52.47 +2.22 Rupiah 14115.000 14375 +1.84 Rupee 68.795 69.77 +1.42 Ringgit 4.142 4.1300 -0.28 Yuan 6.882 6.8730 -0.13 (Reporting by Devika Syamnath in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Rashi Ashok; editing by Darren Schuettler)

EM ASIA FX-Most weaker as dollar firms on dashed U.S. rate cut hopes

Jul 08 2019

* S. Korean won top decliner as trade issues with Japan weigh * Baht down, cenbank not happy with hot money into Thailand * Indian rupee set to snap ten straight gaining sessions (Adds text, updates prices) By Devika Syamnath July 8 Most Asian currencies weakened on Monday after the dollar took heart from strong U.S. jobs data that tempered expectations for a rate cut from the Federal Reserve. Friday's strong U.S. jobs numbers for June reduced hopes for a Fed rate cut, and investors are looking ahead to the Fed chairman's testimony to Congress this week for clues on policy direction. The Korean won was the weakest Asian currency with a 0.8% decline. Adding to the won's woes was a trade skirmish with Japan, which has tightened export curbs on key materials used by South Korean makers of chips and smartphone displays. Thailand's baht receded 0.6% against the dollar, cooling down from a recent rally as weak economic growth reinforced calls for a central bank rate cut. Thailand's central bank is not happy with hot money flowing into the country and has sometimes taken action on excessive moves in the baht, the governor said on Monday. The baht remains Asia's best performer thanks to a weak dollar, foreign fund inflows and the country's large current account surplus. Malaysia's ringgit traded 0.2% lower ahead of its central bank rate decision on Tuesday. The bank is expected to keep its powder dry after cutting rates by 25 basis points in May. Taiwan's dollar weakened 0.3% as the economy grapples with slowing growth in China, Taiwan's biggest trade partner. RESILIENT RUPEE India's rupee was 0.3% lower after having rallied for ten straight sessions. In its budget released on Friday, the government raised import tariffs and proposed easing foreign investment norms in a bid to kickstart the economy. India's fiscal deficit target for 2019/20 surprised at 3.3% of gross domestic product (GDP). A Reuters poll had projected up to 3.5% for the current fiscal year. "Going ahead we expect this fiscal conservatism and swirling RBI (Reserve Bank Of India) rate cut expectations to undergird demand for Indian govies (government bonds)," OCBC said in a note. "Expect the INR to be one of the more resilient currencies in the face of any bouts of USD strength," it added. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0522 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 108.300 108.45 +0.14 Sing dlr 1.360 1.3594 -0.07 Taiwan dlr 31.185 31.107 -0.25 Korean won 1179.900 1170.4 -0.81 Baht 30.810 30.64 -0.55 Peso 51.300 51.329 +0.06 Rupiah 14125.000 14080 -0.32 Rupee 68.620 68.42 -0.29 Ringgit 4.143 4.134 -0.21 Yuan 6.890 6.8940 +0.05 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 108.300 109.56 +1.16 Sing dlr 1.360 1.3627 +0.17 Taiwan dlr 31.185 30.733 -1.45 Korean won 1179.900 1115.70 -5.44 Baht 30.810 32.55 +5.65 Peso 51.300 52.47 +2.28 Rupiah 14125.000 14375 +1.77 Rupee 68.620 69.77 +1.68 Ringgit 4.143 4.1300 -0.30 Yuan 6.890 6.8730 -0.25 (Reporting by Devika Syamnath in Bengaluru; editing by Darren Schuettler)

Short holds slacken on most Asian currencies but bears return to prey on Indian rupee: Reuters poll

Jun 20 2019

Investors shaved bearish bets on most Asian currencies over the past two weeks but went short on the rupee for the first time in over three months, a Reuters poll showed, as election euphoria faded against the backdrop of slowing growth in India.

SE Asia Stocks-Slip as investors cautious ahead of cenbank policy meetings

Jun 17 2019

* Focus on U.S Fed, BOJ, BOE meetings this week * Philippines ends over 1% lower * Singapore falls, weak export data cements case for rate cut By Devika Syamnath June 17 Southeast Asian stock markets settled lower on Monday as investors exercised caution ahead of key central bank policy meetings later this week, while political ructions in the Middle East and Hong Kong stifled risk appetite across the region. Investors would look for clues on global policy narrative from the U.S. Federal Reserve, the Bank Of Japan and the Bank of England meetings this week, as the case for easy money strengthens against the backdrop of slowing global growth amid a prolonged U.S.-China trade dispute. While most are expecting a U.S. Fed rate cut in July, "we are looking at September because the U.S. economy is actually not too bad," said Joanne Goh, an equity strategist with DBS Bank Ltd. Recent strength in U.S. retail sales numbers undermined the urgency for a rate cut and the Fed is seen leaving borrowing costs unchanged this week, though possibly laying the groundwork for a rate cut later this year. Fanning wider tensions, massive protests continued in Hong Kong, calling for Beijing-backed leader Carrie Lam to step down over an extradition bill. Tensions spiked in the Middle East after the United States blamed Iran for attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week. The Philippine index closed over 1% lower. The benchmark clocked its fourth straight weekly gain on Friday. Conglomerate JG Summit Holdings was the top loser, down 3.5%. "(Philippines) had a strong move above 8,000 in the last two weeks... some profit taking is going on," said Goh. With domestic demand and strong GDP growth above 6%, you would think its quite resilient but with slowing growth and unresolved U.S.-China trade war, it remains to be seen if Philippines can be that resilient in terms of economic growth, Goh added. The Singapore benchmark finished 0.4% lower, with industrials Jardine Matheson Holdings and Jardine Strategic Holdings leading declines. The stocks lost 3.2% and 2.4%, respectively. Singapore's weak export data released on Monday prompted economists to raise bets on the prospect of monetary easing later this year. Indonesia's index closed down 1%, with telecom stocks and consumer staples claiming most losses. Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Persero) was the biggest weight on the main index, down 2.3%. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3207.99 3222.63 -0.45 Bangkok 1667.23 1672.33 -0.30 Manila 7908.99 7990.2 -1.02 Jakarta 6190.525 6250.265 -0.96 Kuala Lumpur 1638.4 1638.63 -0.01 Ho Chi Minh 946.95 953.61 -0.70 Change so far in 2019 Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3207.99 3068.76 4.54 Bangkok 1667.23 1563.88 6.61 Manila 7908.99 7,466.02 5.93 Jakarta 6190.525 6,194.50 -0.06 Kuala Lumpur 1638.4 1690.58 -3.09 Ho Chi Minh 946.95 892.54 6.10 (Reporting by Devika Syamnath; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

SE Asia Stocks-Subdued ahead of cenbank policy meetings

Jun 17 2019

* All eyes on Fed, BOJ, BOE meetings this week * Investors await cues from China, HK given political tensions - analyst * Philippines weakens most, industrials weigh By Devika Syamnath June 17 Most Southeast Asian stock markets trod water on Monday as market participants stayed on the sidelines ahead of a slew of central bank policy meetings, while political tensions in Hong Kong and the Middle East kept risk appetite in check. The U.S. Federal Reserve, the Bank Of Japan and the Bank of England are meeting this week as the case for rate cuts intensifies amid a prolonged U.S.-China trade dispute that has dampened growth prospects and sparked fears of a recession. "Everyone is waiting to see if the central banks can actually be more dovish on interest rates to support markets, considering there's a lot of downside risk coming in from the trade wars," said Joanne Goh, an equity strategist with DBS Bank Ltd in Singapore. Meanwhile, activist Joshua Wong, who has become the face of Hong Kong's push for full democracy, walked free from prison on Monday and vowed to join a mass protest movement demanding that the city's Beijing-backed leader, Carrie Lam, steps down. Considering the political developments in Hong Kong over the weekend, investors are waiting to see how the China and Hong Kong markets behave before making any moves, Goh added. Adding to the bleak geopolitical landscape, tensions ratcheted in the Middle East after the United States blamed Iran for attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week. Philippine shares fell the most among Southeast Asian markets, declining as much as 0.7% to their weakest in over one week. Industrials accounted for most of the fall, with JG Summit Holdings down as much as 2.6%. Banks also dropped with BDO Unibank Inc declining as much as 1.2%. "You would have thought it (Philippine market) is resilient, with domestic demand and strong GDP growth above 6%... but against slowing growth and unresolved U.S.-China trade war, it still remains to be seen if the Philippines can be that resilient in terms of economic growth," said Goh. Singapore and Indonesia were also weaker on the day, down 0.1% and 0.2% respectively. Singaporean conglomerate Jardine Strategic Holdings lost as much as 2.4% to a two-week low and led losers in the benchmark stock index. In Indonesia, Charoen Pokphand Indonesia was among the top losers, down as much as 5.7%. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AT 0420 GMT Change on the day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3220.52 3222.63 -0.07 Bangkok 1674.39 1672.33 0.12 Manila 7934.12 7990.2 -0.70 Jakarta 6236.853 6250.265 -0.21 Kuala Lumpur 1640.15 1638.63 0.09 Ho Chi Minh 945.27 953.61 -0.87 Change so far in 2019 Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3220.52 3068.76 4.95 Bangkok 1674.39 1563.88 7.07 Manila 7934.12 7,466.02 6.27 Jakarta 6236.853 6,194.50 0.68 Kuala Lumpur 1640.15 1690.58 -2.98 Ho Chi Minh 945.27 892.54 5.91 (Reporting by Devika Syamnath in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

Australia's Wesfarmers buying online retailer Catch in e-commerce push

Jun 12 2019

Australian conglomerate Wesfarmers is buying e-commerce retailer Catch Group for about $160 million to boost the small online footprint of its retail units such as Kmart and Target amid a big shift by domestic shoppers to the web.

World News