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Asia, Forex

Most Asian currencies gain as U.S. delays tariffs on some Chinese imports

* S Korean won gains most in over 9 months * Chinese yuan sees best in nearly 8 weeks * Tariff news offset raft of weak China July data (Adds text, updates prices) By Aby Jose Koilparambil Aug 14 (Reuters) – Most Asian currencies strengthened on Wednesday after the United States delayed some additional tariffs on imports from China in a modest easing of trade tensions between the world’s top two economies. The year-long tariff war between Washington and Beijing has roiled financial markets and put pressure on many economies, including several in Asia, that count China as their major trade partner. Overnight, U.S. President Donald Trump backed off from his Sept. 1 deadline for 10% tariffs on the remaining Chinese imports, delaying duties on cellphones, laptops and other consumer goods in the hopes of blunting their impact on U.S. holiday sales. “Trade war risk has a very high weight in investors’ reaction function as it is perceived that the Fed would have to deliver “insurance cuts” to cushion the economy,” DBS Group Research analysts said in a note. The tariff news largely offset a raft of disappointing China data for July, and lifted its yuan currency, although uncertainty around unrest in Hong Kong and global growth worries are likely to keep financial markets under pressure in the near term. The broader economic concerns were underscored by the slew of weak China data, including a surprise drop in July industrial output growth to a more than 17-year low, a fall in monthly crude steel output and slow retail sales . The Trump decision managed to lift the Chinese yuan by 0.6%, its best intraday percentage gain in nearly eight weeks. The yuan fell 1.7% against the greenback last week as Beijing let it fall past the key 7 per dollar level for the first time since the global financial crisis. The decline followed Washington’s earlier threat to slap a 10% tariff on $300 billion of Chinese goods. The South Korean won led the gains, rallying as much as 1.3% for its biggest intraday percentage jump in over nine months, especially as the news of the delay in duties for electronic items was seen as a relief for an economy heavily reliant on tech-related exports. The won, the worst performing regional currency so far this year, has declined about 2.5% this month. The Taiwan dollar put on 0.9%, while the Indian rupee and the Indonesian rupiah advanced 0.8% and 0.7%, respectively. The Malaysian ringgit tacked on as much as 0.3%, while the Thai baht gained 0.2%. The Philippine peso bucked the trend, down 0.5% as it retreated from the 0.3% gain in the previous session. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Change on the day at 0536 GMT Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 106.480 106.73 +0.23 Sing dlr 1.385 1.3831 -0.14 Taiwan dlr 31.297 31.506 +0.67 Korean won 1212.900 1222.2 +0.77 Baht 30.810 30.86 +0.16 Peso 52.200 52.01 -0.36 Rupiah 14229.000 14315 +0.60 Rupee 71.028 71.40 +0.52 Ringgit 4.183 4.196 +0.31 Yuan 7.020 7.0558 +0.51 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 106.480 109.56 +2.89 Sing dlr 1.385 1.3627 -1.61 Taiwan dlr 31.297 30.733 -1.80 Korean won 1212.900 1115.70 -8.01 Baht 30.810 32.55 +5.65 Peso 52.200 52.47 +0.52 Rupiah 14229.000 14375 +1.03 Rupee 71.028 69.77 -1.77 Ringgit 4.183 4.1300 -1.27 Yuan 7.020 6.8730 -2.10 (Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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