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Asia, Forex

Most Asia currencies slip on expected rate cuts, oil price pressure

* Coming ECB, Fed decisions in focus * Thai baht slips to 1-week low * Middle East tensions push oil price up (Adds text, updates prices) By Aby Jose Koilparambil July 23 (Reuters) – Most emerging Asian currencies weakened on Tuesday against a stronger dollar as the investors remain focused on anticipated rate cuts by European Central Bank (ECB) and the U.S. Federal Reserve amid increasing signs of a global economic slowdown. Investors expect the ECB on Thursday and the Fed on July 31 to announce interest rate cuts. Tuesday’s price movements were small, given that monetary easing is not a fresh theme. In spite of a slew of strong recent U.S. economic data, Fed officials have sounded decidedly dovish, thanks to persisting concerns over the U.S.-China trade tensions and weak inflation data. All appears set for the central bank’s first rate reduction in a decade. Last week, South Korea and Indonesia cut their benchmark interest rates for the first time in years as Asian economies feel additional pressure amid a slowdown in China’s growth to near 30-year lows and trade tensions. The currencies of major oil importers in the region including India, Indonesia and Thailand have come under pressure following Iran’s seizure last week of a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, which has raised global prices. OCBC Bank analysts said in a note that continued tensions with Iran would support crude oil prices. On Tuesday, prices edged higher amid lingering concerns about possible supply disruptions in the Middle East, but an overall weaker demand outlook kept a lid on gains. The Thai baht depreciated as much as 0.3% to a one-week low. The Indonesian rupiah and the Indian rupee lost up to 0.2% each, as did the Malaysian ringgit and the Philippine peso. The Singapore dollar fell 0.2% ahead of the June inflation data on Tuesday. A Reuters poll predicted that the city-state’s headline and core inflation rates likely eased in the month. Data on Monday, in a sign of further strains on Asia’s trade-reliant economies in the near term, showed Taiwan export orders contracted for an eighth straight month in June, with global companies increasingly hesitant to make new investments in machinery as the China-U.S. trade war wears on. The Taiwan dollar was little changed on Tuesday. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Change on the day at 0426 GMT Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 108.060 107.86 -0.19 Sing dlr 1.363 1.3607 -0.18 Taiwan dlr 31.077 31.083 +0.02 Korean won 1178.200 1178.3 +0.01 Baht 30.910 30.84 -0.23 Peso 51.150 51.1 -0.10 Rupiah 13970.000 13940 -0.21 Rupee 69.018 68.91 -0.15 Ringgit 4.117 4.111 -0.15 Yuan 6.883 6.8817 -0.02 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 108.060 109.56 +1.39 Sing dlr 1.363 1.3627 -0.04 Taiwan dlr 31.077 30.733 -1.11 Korean won 1178.200 1115.70 -5.30 Baht 30.910 32.55 +5.31 Peso 51.150 52.47 +2.58 Rupiah 13970.000 14375 +2.90 Rupee 69.018 69.77 +1.09 Ringgit 4.117 4.1300 +0.32 Yuan 6.883 6.8730 -0.15 (Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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