EM ASIA FX-Most currencies depreciate; Sino-U.S. trade spat, Argentine peso crash hits risk sentiment
By Aby Jose Koilparambil
Aug 13 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies weakened on Tuesday, as the prolonged Sino-U.S. trade dispute and a free fall of the Argentine peso weighed on investors' risk appetite, while Singapore cutting its full-year growth forecast added more pressure in the region.
Signals of a drawn out tussle between the U.S. and China have kept global markets on edge and the lack of any progress in resolving their differences is a major worry for many Asian economies, which count Beijing as a top trade partner.
The prospects of a more aggressive approach by China to tackle the simmering protests in Hong Kong has also triggered a wave of risk aversion across global markets.
In Argentina, the local peso weakened more than 15% against the dollar after President Mauricio Macri got thumped in Sunday's primary vote, a stark early warning for the incumbent ahead of the general election in October.
Meanwhile, the Singapore government cut its full-year forecast range for gross domestic product as global conditions were seen worsening and data confirmed the slowest growth rate in a decade amid mounting fears of recession in the city-state.
Singapore's final second quarter GDP data on Tuesday showed a 3.3% quarter-on-quarter contraction on a seasonally-adjusted annualised basis, slightly smaller than the 3.4% decline seen in the government's advance estimate but lower than a 2.9% fall predicted in a Reuters poll.
"Singapore's sobering downward assessment of 2019 growth outlook is perhaps the most telling sign that the world is now bracing for the worse; even as it hopes for better," said Mizuho Bank's Vishnu Varathan in a note.
The Indian rupee INR=IN led losses on the day, weakening as much as 0.6% to 71.190 against the dollar, its lowest level since Feb. 28.
The Indonesian rupiah IDR=ID, the South Korean won KRW=KFTC and the Thai baht THB=TH depreciated up to 0.3% each.
The Malaysian ringgit MYR=MY fell as much as 0.2%, while the Chinese yuan CNY=CFXS, the Singapore dollar SGD= and the Taiwan dollar TWD=TP depreciated slightly.
CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR
Change on the day at 0429 GMT
Change so far in 2019
(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr)
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