Thai baht declines in thin holiday trading across Asian markets


Emerging Asian currencies slipped in holiday-thinned trade on Monday, with the Thai baht leading the declines, as the dollar stayed firm and China data pointed to an uneven recovery in the world's second-largest economy.

Trading was dull across Asia as markets were closed in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and India.

The Thai baht fell up to 0.5%, tracking weakness in gold prices, while the South Korean won and the Taiwan dollar traded marginally lower.

"For the Thai baht specifically, there could be some pressures from gold-related flows as gold prices have moved lower from Friday levels," said Poon Panichpibool, a markets strategist from Krung Thai Bank.

Also, political turbulence in Southeast Asia's second-largest economy is likely to weigh more on its assets, including a court case that could potentially lead to the prime minister's dismissal.

"The rise in political uncertainties has already weighed on investor sentiment, with Thailand's currency and equity markets among the region's worst performers in the year-to-date," analysts from ANZ said in a client note.

Krung Thai Bank's Panichpibool said the baht could face more pressure from foreign fund outflows as the political turbulence will prevent foreign investors from buying Thai assets, even as its stocks and bonds seem to have a somewhat attractive valuation.

Meanwhile, the Chinese yuan traded flat while shares were down about 0.6%, as investors digested weaker-than-expected data showing the property sector remained a pain, and with the People's Bank of China leaving a key policy rate unchanged as expected.

Globally, investors are awaiting the U.S. May retail sales numbers on Tuesday in a data-light week for cues on when the central bank will cut interest this year.

The Federal Reserve last week published updated projections showing that median forecast from all 19 U.S. central bankers was for a single rate cut this year.

At 0525 GMT, the dollar index, which measures the strength of the greenback, was steady at 105.54.

Most Asian stock markets inched lower, with Seoul slipping about 0.5%. However, Hyundai Motor surged as much as 6.3% to hit its highest in more than three years, after the automaker unveiled plans to list its India unit in Mumbai.

Among other markets, Bangkok fell 1.2% to hover near its November 2020 lows, Tokyo dropped 2.1% and Taipei slipped 0.1%.

HIGHLIGHTS:

** Temasek to invest up to $198 mln in Australian ETF manager Betashares

** Philippines cash remittances up 3.2% y/y in April

** Taiwan is not seeking war with China, defence minister says - Reuters

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Asian , currency , Thai Baht , Chinese yuan

   

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