STI

EMERGING MARKETS-Asian currencies, equities range-bound; cenbank meetings on tap

Credit: REUTERS/THOMAS WHITE

By Echha Jain

March 19 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies eased against the greenback on Monday, while equities were range-bound, as market focus shifts towards central bank meetings in other countries this week after the Bank of Japan (BOJ) ended eight years of negative interest rates.

The MSCI International Emerging Market Currency Index .MIEM00000CUS slipped 0.1% to hit its lowest level since March 6, while the MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS fell as much as 0.8%, hitting its lowest since March 7.

The BOJ took the spotlight for the day after it decided to end its negative interest rate policy and abolished its yield control curve, marking a landmark shift away from its huge stimulus programme. This was Japan's first interest rate hike since 2007.

The Japanese yen JPY= slipped as much as 0.6%.

"With wage growth peaking this year, we still expect inflation to fall below the BOJ’s target by the end of the year so the Bank won’t feel the need to lift its policy rate any further," Marcel Thieliant, head of Asia-Pacific for Capital Economics, said.

The South Korean won KRW=KFTC depreciated as much as 0.4% against the greenback to hit its lowest level since Feb 20. The Taiwanese dollar TWD=TP followed suit, slipping as much as 0.3% to hit its lowest level Nov 20, 2023.

Amongst equities, Seoul stocks .KS11 were the biggest laggards in the region, slipping as much as 1.5%. Philippine stocks .PSI, on the other hand, advanced as much as 0.6%.

Traders are also awaiting policy decision from central bank officials in the U.S., Taiwan, Indonesia, Turkey, Russia, Brazil and Mexico, among others, later in the week.

Most of the central banks are expected to hold rates steady, with the market's attention on policymakers' updated interest rate projections for the rest of the year and commentary.

Traders are pricing in a 99.0% certainty that the U.S. Federal Reserve will stand pat at its March meeting on Wednesday and a 55.2% chance of a rate cut in June, according to the CME FedWatch tool.

Eugene Leow, senior rates strategist at DBS said there is room for calibrated rates cut in the second half of the year as the Fed gets more confident with the inflation trajectory.

"This will also set the tone for better sentiment towards EM assets. EM central banks like BI (Bank Indonesia) may also feel more confident about cutting rates,"

Both the Malaysian ringgit MYR= and the Indonesian rupiah IDR= slipped as much as 0.2% to hit their lowest level since March 6.

Kuala Lumpur stocks .KLSE fell as much as 0.5%, while stocks in Jakarta .JKSE jumped as much as 0.8%.

HIGHLIGHTS:

** Taiwan c.bank chief says inflation will be above 2% this year, but lower than 2023

** China sets higher bar for consumer finance companies

** Indonesia to pause corn imports as bumper local harvest season starts

Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0343 GMT

COUNTRY

FX RIC

FX DAILY %

FX YTD %

INDEX

STOCKS DAILY %

STOCKS YTD %

Japan

JPY=

-0.47

-5.87

.N225

-0.36

18.32

China

CNY=CFXS

-0.00

-1.40

.SSEC

-0.42

3.27

India

INR=IN

-0.05

+0.31

.NSEI

0.00

1.49

Indonesia

IDR=

-0.10

-1.94

.JKSE

0.66

1.07

Malaysia

MYR=

-0.19

-2.86

.KLSE

-0.16

6.63

Philippines

PHP=

-0.20

-0.56

.PSI

0.51

6.80

S.Korea

KRW=KFTC

-0.26

-3.68

.KS11

-1.34

-0.21

Singapore

SGD=

-0.07

-1.54

.STI

0.05

-2.06

Taiwan

TWD=TP

-0.21

-3.12

.TWII

0.14

11.02

Thailand

THB=TH

-0.10

-5.08

.SETI

0.26

-1.85

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

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

(Reporting by Echha Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)

((Echha.jain@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.

Tags

More Related Articles

Info icon

This data feed is not available at this time.

Sign up for the TradeTalks newsletter to receive your weekly dose of trading news, trends and education. Delivered Wednesdays.