EM ASIA FX-Most Asian units to end the week lower, Thai baht strengthens

Credit: REUTERS/ATHIT PERAWONGMETHA

Asian currencies edged slightly lower on Friday, with most units set to lose after a week marked by continued pessimism over a U.S-China trade deal.

By Ambar Warrick

June 14 (Reuters) - Asian currencies edged slightly lower on Friday, with most units set to lose after a week marked by continued pessimism over a U.S-China trade deal.

Chinese retail sales and industrial output data for May due out later in the day will give investors some idea of how well demand was holding up in the world's second-largest economy, following a substantially weaker reading for April.

A U.S. Federal Reserve meeting next week also saw markets adopting a wait-and-see approach, with weaker economic data seen over the past few days pushing the case lower interest rates, with most bets on a cut in July. U.S. retail sales data later in the day is also expected to be a point of focus.

"Markets will have to continue to triangulate between the FOMC, global trade tensions, and a global macro deceleration," OCBC's Emmanuel Ng said in a note.

He also said that "investors may remain on edge", and that a pivot to safe havens such as the Japanese yen and Swiss franc seemed likely if risk aversion "flares up again."

The Singapore dollar SGD= weakened 0.1% to the dollar, and was set to be the biggest weekly loser amongst its peers. Singapore's strong trade relationship with China has made the island-state especially sensitive to headwinds from the trade war front.

The currencies of oil importers such as the Indian rupee INR=IN, Indonesian rupiah IDR=ID and the Philippine peso PHP= also dipped after attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman sent oil prices up sharply. O/R

The rupiah was the biggest intraday loser, dropping about 0.2% owing to the archipelago's large dependence on crude imports.

The peso was among the few currencies set to gain this week, albeit marginally. A public holiday during the week had likely prompted some local demand for the currency.

The South Korean won KRW=KFTC and the Taiwan dollar TWD=TP traded in a flat-to-low range, but were set to lose about 0.2% and 0.3% for the week, respectively, due to a further deterioration in the global technology sector.

RISK-OFF BENEFITS THAI BAHT

The Thai baht THB=TH led meagre gains in the region, strengthening about 0.06% to the dollar. It was also the best weekly performer, with Thai risk assets seeing strong foreign inflows thanks to relative stability in the country, in comparison to its emerging market peers.

The currency, which is set for its third straight week of gains, had outperformed emerging Asia in 2018, and has continued the trend in so far 2019.

The baht is also among the few Asian currencies to have bullish positions, as found by a Reuters poll last week. ASIA/FXP

The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar on Friday.

CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR

Change on the day at 0437 GMT

Currency

Latest bid

Previous day

Pct Move

Japan yen

108.310

108.37

+0.06

Sing dlr

1.367

1.3666

-0.06

Taiwan dlr

31.509

31.512

+0.01

Korean won

1184.200

1183.1

-0.09

Baht

31.210

31.23

+0.06

Peso

51.880

51.85

-0.06

Rupiah

14304.000

14275

-0.20

Rupee

69.543

69.51

-0.05

Ringgit

4.167

4.165

-0.05

Yuan

6.924

6.9212

-0.04

Change so far in 2019

Currency

Latest bid

End 2018

Pct Move

Japan yen

108.310

109.56

+1.15

Sing dlr

1.367

1.3627

-0.34

Taiwan dlr

31.509

30.733

-2.46

Korean won

1184.200

1115.70

-5.78

Baht

31.210

32.55

+4.29

Peso

51.880

52.47

+1.14

Rupiah

14304.000

14375

+0.50

Rupee

69.543

69.77

+0.33

Ringgit

4.167

4.1300

-0.89

Yuan

6.924

6.8730

-0.74

(Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

((Ambar.Warrick@thomsonreuters.com; +91-80-6749-6625; Reuters Messaging: ambar.warrick.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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