Short positions on most Asian currencies drop; dollar momentum seen waning

* Short positions on Thai baht lowest since late May
* Bearish bets on Indian rupee, Indonesian rupiah highest

By Ambar Warrick
Oct 18 (Reuters) - Short positions on most Asian currencies
were seen unwinding over the past two weeks, a Reuters poll
showed on Thursday, with traders turning sceptical of the
dollar's bull run after U.S. retail sales data came in
below expectations.
Moreover, the run-up to the U.S. mid-term elections next
month and related political uncertainty is also expected to
weigh on the greenback, which has gained nearly 4 percent this
year against a basket of currencies, thereby providing
support to regional currencies.
Bearish bets on the Singapore dollar, Taiwan dollar
and the Philippine peso declined over the past
two weeks, a poll of 10 respondents showed. The currencies had
suffered heavy losses over the last fortnight, hurt by a
confluence of factors including higher crude oil prices and
brewing global trade tensions.
Short positions on the Thai baht fell to the lowest
since late May. Strong economic fundamentals have bolstered
sentiment for the baht, which is the best performer amongst its
peers in the year so far.
Bearish bets on the Singapore dollar also fell to the lowest
level since late May. The export-reliant economy's non-oil
shipments rose 8 percent in September despite ongoing trade
tensions.
The country's central bank tightened monetary policy last
week and had posited a strong outlook for the economy.

Meanwhile, bears on the South Korean won hiked
their stakes to the highest level since early August. The
country's central bank held its benchmark rates as expected, and
said a rate hike in November was almost certain.
Global trade tensions have dampened South Korea's economic
outlook due to its close ties with China, which accounts for a
bulk of the country's exports.
Short positions on the Chinese yuan rose
slightly, with the currency touching its weakest levels in 21
months on Thursday, as a trade war with the United States
continued to hurt sentiment. Strong Chinese export data did
little to deter yuan shorts, as market participants believe that
the real brunt of U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods is yet to be
felt.
Markets will closely watch China's third-quarter GDP data
this Friday to gauge the effects of the conflict. A Reuters poll
predicted that China's third-quarter growth will slow to its
weakest pace since the global financial crisis with domestic
demand expected to falter.
Bearish bets on the Indonesian rupiah and the
Indian rupee were the highest. The two currencies are
the worst performers among their peers this year, as both the
countries have large current account deficit and are heavily
dependent on oil imports.
Weak domestic currencies had recently prompted market
intervention from the central banks of both the countries, with
the Indonesian central bank tightening its monetary policy in
September for the fifth time since mid-May.
Bears on the rupiah raised their positions to the highest
level in more than five years while shorts on the rupee eased
slightly.
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, 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).
The survey findings ASIAPOSN are provided below (positions
in U.S. dollar versus each currency):

DDMM CNY KRW SGD IDR TWD INR MYR PHP THB
18/10 1.14 0.82 0.49 1.68 0.60 1.68 0.75 1.36 0.07
4/10 1.11 0.56 0.70 1.65 0.65 1.74 0.74 1.53 0.10
20/9 1.12 0.79 0.95 1.57 0.69 1.72 0.82 1.44 0.33
6/9 0.92 0.64 0.86 1.37 0.68 1.72 0.90 1.13 0.24
23/8 0.93 0.71 0.84 1.27 0.91 1.19 0.88 0.86 0.47
9/8 1.52 0.94 0.80 1.21 0.99 1 0.86 1.02 0.66
26/7 1.55 1.08 0.84 1.35 1.13 1.25 0.76 1.44 0.87
12/7 1.00 0.91 0.68 1.31 0.88 1.18 0.64 1.35 0.70
28/6 1.28 1.03 0.94 1.32 1.03 1.43 0.94 1.58 0.73
31/5 -0.15 -0.17 0.39 1.06 0.33 1.42 0.69 1.25 0.06


(Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru, additional reporting
by Nikhil Nainan; Editing by Vyas Mohan)




Double click on brackets for following items:
Asian currencies Asian currencies in Asia
Malaysian ringgit Indonesian rupiah
Singapore dollar Thai baht
Taiwan dollar Hong Kong dollar
Philippine peso Korean won
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2018-10-18 09:22:04

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