Asian currencies benefit from China data relief
By Nikhil Nainan
April 15 () - Most Asian currencies stepped up against the dollar on Monday as investors took comfort in further signs of stabilisation in the Chinese economy and an upbeat start to U.S. earnings.
Chinese data on Friday showed exports rebounded sharply and new bank loans increased far more than expected in March, raising hopes that the world's second-biggest economy is bottoming out after a soft patch.
Markets are now turning their focus to the release of China's first-quarter GDP and activity data on Wednesday. Growth in the first quarter is forecast to have cooled to a 27-year low, though many expect major stimulus measures to filter through in the coming quarters.
The yuan edged lower to 6.710, a 0.1 percent drop from Friday's close, pressured by some corporate demand for the greenback. CNY/
South Korea's won outperformed its regional peers, up 0.6 percent to 1,133.2, as slowdown worries ease.
The dollar index, a gauge of the performance of the greenback against a basket of key rival currencies weakened 0.1 percent to 96.857.
Elsewhere, Indonesia posted a surprise trade surplus for a second straight month in March. The rupiah was 0.2 percent up at 14,060, a level it held for much of the session.
The rupiah, which is at a more than one-month high against the dollar, has been among the best performing currencies this year.
On Wednesday, Southeast Asia's largest economy goes to the polls. The election in the world's third-biggest democracy is a repeat of the 2014 contest, and the incumbent, president Joko Widodo, has been comfortably ahead in most surveys after winning by almost six percentage points last time around.
The Indian rupee , on the other hand, which also reports trade data for March, weakened 0.2 percent to 69.29 a dollar.
"INR may be more vulnerable to the 'twin deficits' risks if trade deficit gets too close to or crosses $10 billion," Mizuho Bank said, as oil prices rise.
The Philippine traded sideways for much of the session, but was last up 0.1 percent ahead of remittances data later in the day.
Markets in Thailand are closed for a public holiday.
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