Asian currencies fall on U.S. rate expectations, China jitters


BENGALURU: Asian currencies broadly fell on Wednesday, with Thailand's baht leading losses, as short-term U.S. Treasury yields jumped amid expectations that rising inflation will lead to earlier-than-expected interest rate hikes in the world's largest economy.

Emerging Asian stocks slipped on fresh China jitters. Modern Land became the latest Chinese property developer to default on a bond payment, hurting Chinese property stocks and rekindling worries that China Evergrande Group's debt problems could pose a contagion risk.

Stocks in Indonesia, Thailand and South Korea all slipped between 0.3% and 0.8%, tracking Chinese stocks, which fell 1.2%.

The Thai baht slipped 0.5%, having recently come under pressure due to rising oil prices, even after data showed the country's manufacturing production index had a smaller than expected year-on-year drop of 1.28% in September.

"Market watchers could be concerned that rising global oil prices could continue to weigh on Thailand's current account deficit, given that it is a net oil importer," analysts at Maybank wrote in a note.

South Korean shares fell 0.8% as traders booked profits after two straight sessions of gains, with investors focusing firmly on Samsung Electronics earnings due on Thursday.

However, stocks in Singapore rose 0.5% as the country slowly reopens its borders and expands quarantine-free travel, even as it reported a jump in COVID-19 cases on Wednesday.

Malaysian stocks also inched higher on expectations it will unveil an expansionary budget on Friday to spur post-pandemic recovery, while surging prices for the country's gas exports also underpinned the stock market.

The U.S. dollar edged up on Tuesday in narrow-range trading before slipping in early Asia trading hours.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are up 0.3 basis points at 6.2%​​
  • Singapore's 10-year benchmark yield is up 2 basis points at 1.8%​​
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