Dovish Powell boosts Asian currencies, Korean won leads


  • Business
  • Thursday, 11 Jul 2019

The Korean won advanced 0.8% against the dollar and touched its strongest this week.

BENGALURU: Emerging Asian currencies strengthened against a weaker dollar on Thursday after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell all but confirmed a month-end rate cut to prop-up a cooling economy.
    
Global risk assets, including the region's currencies, welcomed the prospect of monetary support from the Fed, after spending most of this week on the edge after solid U.S. jobs data last week doused hopes for a large rate cut at its July 30-31 meeting. 
    
Powell, in his congressional testimony on Wednesday, confirmed that the U.S. economy is still under threat from disappointing factory activity, tame inflation and a simmering trade war.
    
June inflation readings from the world's biggest economy are also scheduled later in the day.
    
"Looking forward, EM/Asia expected to be at the front and centre of central bank inspired optimism. If this persists, expect some room for USD-Asia to search lower," OCBC said in a  note to clients.
    
The Korean won advanced 0.8% against the dollar and touched its strongest this week, managing to shake off recent pressure from trade anxiety after Japan imposed export curbs on key materials used by South Korean technology firms. 
    
Thailand's baht, the best regional performer this year, gained 0.8%. 
    
China's yuan extended gains to a second session and was 0.2% higher in the wake of the dovish Fed. The resumption of trade talks between United States and China this week after a hiatus in May took some strain off the currency.  

Powell's move could dampen interest rates across the emerging markets space, including Asia, said DBS in a note.

"Odds of the Bank of Korea and Bank Indonesia easing next week have ticked up."
    
Singapore's second-quarter growth numbers are slated for Friday and will be closely watched, with the city-state's economy among the most exposed to trade war ructions.
    
"High frequency data have been weak and there has been increasing speculation that the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) would ease by October," said DBS.   
    
Singapore's dollar climbed 0.2% to its strongest against the greenback in a week. - Reuters
 

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