Most Asian currencies rise on easing of some COVID curbs in China
Most Asian emerging currencies rose on
Monday, with the Chinese yuan and Vietnam’s dong leading gains,
as a softer U.S. dollar and signs of China easing its strict
zero-COVID strategy supported investors’ appetite for riskier
The yuan appreciated 1.4% against the dollar,
hitting its highest since Sept. 15 as the dollar index
fell 0.3% at 104.17. Stocks in Shanghai advanced more
Steps taken in some Chinese cities to ease coronavirus curbs
raised hopes of increased demand for commodities in Southeast
Asia’s biggest trading partner.
“China remains a dominant driver, and the good news has been
rolling in – through the weekend we’ve heard more news with
Shanghai and Hangzhou easing restrictions, with PCR tests no
longer needed to visit certain public venues,” said Chris
Weston, head of research at broker Pepperstone.
Analysts at OCBC expect a changing U.S. Federal Reserve
policy and China reopening to result in a rebalancing of
portfolio flows to Asia, “especially when allocations in Asia
may have been lower than usual amid the sell-off seen in most
parts of 2022.”
The Vietnamese dong strengthened 1.9% and posted its
best session since September 2010 on flows from foreign
borrowings by Vietnam Technological And Commercial Joint Stock
Bank and Masan Group, according to a market
South Korea’s won firmed 0.7%, while Singapore’s
dollar advanced 0.5% to hit its highest since February
Malaysia’s ringgit, which has lost 4.6% so far this
year, appreciated 0.5% to hit its highest level since May 6.
Since last week, the currency has drawn support from the
appointment of Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister.
Anwar, who will also serve as Malaysia’s finance minister,
announced new cabinet appointments on Friday. Markets now await
a revised 2023 budget before the year end.
“The unveiling of the new cabinet ‘relatively’ quickly
helped removed some political uncertainty,” analysts at Maybank
wrote in a note.
Elsewhere, the Philippines lowered its growth target for
2023 to 6.0%-7.0%, from 6.5%-8.0% and revised its foreign
exchange rate assumptions for 2022-2024.
The peso depreciated 0.1%, while stocks in Manila
Among stock markets, China’s benchmark index led
gains as it surged 1.6%. Equities in Kuala Lumpur and
Seoul declined 0.6% and 0.7%, respectively.
Markets in Thailand were closed on account of a public
** China c.bank extends bilateral currency swap agreement
with Macau for three years
** Indonesia c.bank says digital rupiah currency can be used
The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0434 GMT.
Asia stock indexes and currencies at
COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDE STOCKS STOCKS
DAILY % YTD % X DAILY YTD %
Japan -0.07 -14.3 <.n2>
India -0.07 -8.65 <.ns ei>
Indonesi +0.13 -7.50 <.jk a se>
Malaysia +0.46 -4.56 <.kl se>
Philippi -0.09 -8.54 <.ps nes i>
Singapor +0.54 +0.33 <.st e i>
Taiwan +0.54 -9.03 <.tw ii>
Thailand – -3.90 <.se ti>
(Reporting by Upasana Singh in Bengaluru, additional reporting
by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)
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