Asian FX fall on hawkish Fed; Indonesian rupiah and Thai baht lead losses

  • Thai baht snaps 5-day winning streak
  • Philippine peso, Malaysian ringgit weaken
  • Indonesia 10-yr bond yield not far from five-week low
  • Equities decline; Malaysian benchmark top loser

Jan 6 (Reuters) – Most Asian currencies fell on Thursday after minutes from the latest U.S. Federal Reserve meeting indicated the central bank would likely raise interest rates sooner than expected, weighing on riskier assets.

The Indonesian rupiah and the Thai baht were the top losers, weakening as much as 0.4% each, with the baht snapping its five-day winning streak and marking its first negative session of the year.

Regional equities also broadly fell, with shares in the Philippines (.PSI), Malaysia (.KLSE), Indonesia (.JKSE) and South Korea (.KS11)declining between 0.4% and 1.2%.

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Fed officials said in their December meeting a “very tight” job market and unabated inflation would require the central bank to raise interest rates earlier than expected and start reducing its overall asset holdings, according to minutes from that meeting. read more

That pushed the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield to 1.7170%, its highest level since April last year, while the dollar was roughly flat at 96.178.

“A risk-based examination of (the) 2022 outlook for EM Asia must inexorably be shaped by hard-to-predict interactions between pandemic, price, policy and geo-political risks,” analysts at Mizuho Bank said in a note.

“As such, EM Asia’s recovery may lag and remain uneven; as China neither provides emphatic tailwind nor erases downside risks.”

A private sector survey showed on Thursday activity in China’s services sector expanded at a faster pace in December, but continuing small-scale COVID-19 outbreaks weighed on the outlook. read more

Back in Southeast Asia, Indonesia’s high-yielding 10-year bonds benefited from strong inflows after having underperformed in 2021, according to analysts.

The yield was last at 6.313%, not far from a five-week low of 6.307% hit in the previous session.

Indonesian 10-year yield falls

Barclays analysts expect Indonesian bonds to “offer some upside in the near term, especially after cheapening and underperforming” in 2021, with the 10-year yields likely to stabilise between 6.25% and 6.50% in the first quarter.

But it added that foreign purchases of Indonesian bonds should slow as the Fed tightens monetary policy.

The rupiah weakened for a fourth straight day and hit its lowest since Dec. 7, while the Philippine peso and Malaysian ringgit each depreciated about 0.4%.

Elsewhere, Singapore shares (.STI) added 0.6%, while Thai stocks (.SETI) fell as much as 1.3% after five straight session of gains.

Omicron also clouded the outlook in Southeast Asia, with Singapore expecting the new coronavirus variant to cause a bigger wave of infections than the Delta variant, while Thailand is considering certain restrictions. read more


** Indonesian 5-year benchmark yield slips 3.1 basis points to 5.032%, its lowest since late-November

** Growth in China’s Dec services accelerates – Caixin PMI read more

** India’s daily COVID-19 cases rise by 90,928 – Health Ministry read more

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Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.