Most Asian Currencies Rise As Dollar Eases, Singapore Hits 3-Week High

October 14, 2021

Most Asian currencies gained on Thursday after the U.S. dollar eased, with the Singaporean dollar hitting a three-week high after its central bank unexpectedly tightened its policy.

South Korean won and the Thai baht were among the top percentage gainers in the region, strengthening about half a percent each.   

Singapore's dollar firmed as much 0.3% to touch its highest since Sept. 24, after the Monetary Authority of Singapore tightened its policy for the first time since October 2018 as the threat of inflation outweighed growth risks posed by the coronavirus.

Among equities, Indonesia jumped 1.4% to scale an over two-year level, Philippines advanced more than 1% after two straight days of losses. India's Nifty 50 scaled a fresh peak with technology stocks powering the gains.

The U.S. dollar index touched its lowest this week at 93.987 against major peers on Thursday taking a breather from a rally that had lifted it to a one-year high powered by expectations for quicker Federal Reserve interest rate hikes.

"The release of the Fed minutes has reaffirmed expectations that tapering may begin towards the end of the year in 'either mid-November or mid-December'", said Yeap Jun Rong, a market strategist at IG.

In Asia, South Korea's won gained 0.6% and marked its best day since late-August, after the finance minister said the government was ready to deploy measures to stabilize currency markets if needed. The won has lost more than 5% since July.

"Whilst recovery thus far has fallen short of levels consistent with past Singapore dollar slope reinstatement, a backdrop of growing inflation risks in quarters ahead, alongside an adequate recovery, incentivise pre-emptive normalization," analysts at Mizuho Bank said in a note.

Among other currencies, the Thai baht added 0.5% to scale a three-week high.

Indonesia's rupiah touched a five-month high after the holiday island of Bali reopened to foreign tourists after 18 months of a pandemic hiatus.

The country, Southeast Asia's biggest economy and a thermal coal exporter, is likely to have logged a growth in September exports supported by high commodity prices, while trade surplus is seen narrowing due to rising imports, a Reuters poll showed.

Meanwhile, China's yuan pulled back from a nearly four-month high after the central bank set the currency's daily fixing weaker than expected, with high producer inflation reading for September adding to policy anxiety.

HIGHLIGHTS:   

    ** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields fall 5.5 basis points

to 6.291%

    ** China's factory gate inflation hits record high in

September -

    ** Thai economy bottomed out in Q3 -c.bank minutes -

  Asia stock indexes and                           

 currencies at   0639 GMT                     

 COUNTRY  FX RIC        FX    FX  INDE  STOCK  STOCK

                     DAILY   YTD     X      S  S YTD

                         %     %        DAILY      %

                                            % 

 Japan               -0.27  -9.0  <.N2  1.46   4.03

                               7  25>         

 China    <CNY=CFX   -0.14  +1.4  <.SS   0.04   2.59

          S>                   1  EC>         

 India               +0.09  -2.9  <.NS   0.88  31.04

                               6  EI>         

 Indones             +0.49  -0.7  <.JK   1.18  10.62

 ia                            5  SE>         

 Malaysi             +0.12  -3.2  <.KL  -0.55  -2.19

 a                             3  SE>         

 Philipp             -0.12  -5.1  <.PS   1.62   0.61

 ines                          9  I>          

 S.Korea  <KRW=KFT   +0.59  -8.4  <.KS   1.50   4.01

          C>                   8  11>         

 Singapore             +0.18  -2.1  <.ST   0.26  11.28

 re                            0  I>          

 Taiwan              +0.09  +1.2  <.TW   0.24  11.23

                               9  II>         

 Thailan             +0.48  -9.7  <.SE  -0.06  13.33

 d                             3  TI>

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