STI

EMERGING MARKETS-Asian currencies at multi-month lows as dollar steadies; stocks mixed

Credit: REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

By Poonam Behura

March 27 (Reuters) - Several currencies in emerging Asia extended losses on Wednesday to hit multi-month lows, while stocks were broadly mixed, as the greenback gained momentum following strong U.S. economic data.

The South Korean won KRW=KFTC, one of the worst performers among Asian currencies for the year to date, slipped 0.6% to its lowest since Nov. 1. The Taiwanese dollar TWD=TP fell 0.3%, hitting its lowest level since Nov. 16.

Indonesia's rupiah IDR= lost 0.4%, dropping to its lowest in nearly five months.

The U.S. dollar, which measures the strength of the greenback against six major currencies, appreciated 0.1% to 104.360 on the back of stronger-than-expected orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods and concerns that hot inflation numbers could cause a rethink in the Federal Reserve's rate-cut outlook.

The Fed's preferred inflation indicator, the Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index (PCE), and public comments from Fed Chair Jerome Powell are due on Friday. The index is expected to have risen 0.4% in the last month.FEDWATCH

"The Fed's decision to uphold three rate cuts in the dot plot for 2024 seemed to contradict the prevailing economic indicators, notably the above-forecast inflation data for January and February," said Luca Santos, currency analyst at ACY Securities.

The Hong Kong's Hang Seng .HSI and mainland Chinese blue chips .CSI300 lost 0.8% and 0.4% respectively, reversing gains from the previous session.

The stronger dollar had China's yuan CNY=CFXS down 0.2% at 7.2276 per dollar and close to a four-month low, even after the central bank signalled support with a firm setting of its daily trading band.

The yuan's weakness, which reflects sluggish economic growth in the world's second-largest economy, has "led to some softness in regional currencies," Saktiandi Supaat, head of FX research at Maybank said.

Singapore's shares index .STI, among the worst performers in Asia markets so far this year, rose as much as 0.9%, a day after recording a sharp jump in industrial production for February. The index was at its highest level since Sept. 19.

"Overall these numbers are in line with the regional recovery in exports and manufacturing we see across Asia, including out of Korea and Taiwan," MUFG analysts said in a note to clients.

Stocks in Malaysia .KLSE and Indonesia .JKSE dipped 0.3% each, while Thailand's .SETI and Taiwan's .TWII benchmark indexes advanced 0.4% each.

In Japan, the yen JPY=EBS plunged to a 34-year low against the dollar, last down 0.1%, prompting a strong intervention warning by the government.

HIGHLIGHTS:

** Vietnam minister says president's resignation has not affected policies

** Thai PM says economy needs a boost, weighs funding options for $13.7 bln handout plan

** South Korea prepares financial support for small businesses, builders

Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0559 GMT

COUNTRY

FX RIC

FX DAILY %

FX YTD %

INDEX

STOCKS DAILY %

STOCKS YTD %

Japan

JPY=

-0.13

-7.04

.N225

1.26

22.67

China

CNY=CFXS

-0.18

-1.80

.SSEC

-0.29

1.60

India

INR=IN

-0.03

-0.12

.NSEI

0.69

1.96

Indonesia

IDR=

-0.44

-2.90

.JKSE

-0.31

0.96

Malaysia

MYR=

-0.23

-2.92

.KLSE

-0.33

5.41

Philippines

PHP=

+0.02

-1.50

.PSI

-0.05

6.89

S.Korea

KRW=KFTC

-0.59

-4.42

.KS11

-0.13

3.70

Singapore

SGD=

-0.11

-2.08

.STI

0.68

0.46

Taiwan

TWD=TP

-0.32

-3.94

.TWII

0.37

12.66

Thailand

THB=TH

-0.38

-6.24

.SETI

0.35

-2.38

Graphic: World FX rates https://tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E

Asian stock markets https://tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4

(Reporting by Poonam Behura in Bengaluru; Editing by Tom Westbrook, Edwina Gibbs and Janane Venkatraman)

((Poonam.Behura@thomsonreuters.com))

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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