Baht leads Asia FX gains
The baht hit a near two-month high on Monday, a day when most emerging Asian currencies rose after disappointing US economic data, as traders covered short positions and seemed relieved crisis-hit Thailand had some economic growth in late 2013. At one point, the baht rose as much as 1.2 percent to 32.20 per dollar, its strongest since December 18, on sustained demand from offshore funds and stop-loss dollar selling after a break of 32.30, traders said.
Copyright Reuters, 2014
Bangkok shares also had a good day, outpacing most regional peers with a 1.3 percent rise. The Indonesian rupiah jumped as much as 1.5 percent to 11,650, its strongest since November 20, as custodian banks bought it for domestic bonds, traders said. The rupiah gave up some of those gains as investors booked profits on this year's best performing Asian currency. The currency has risen on optimism about the economy, rooted in how the country's large current-account deficit has been reduced.
A senior Bank Indonesia official told Reuters on Monday that the deficit in the first quarter will be about the same as the fourth quarter but will widen in April-June as economic activity picks up. The Philippine peso advanced 0.7 percent to 44.42 per dollar, its strongest since January 2 as central bank data showed remittances from overseas workers hit a record high in December. The Malaysian ringgit rose as much as 0.6 percent to 3.2855 per dollar, its strongest since January 16, on demand from leveraged funds. The Singapore dollar turned weaker after data showed the city-state's exports in January fell more than expected.