CASES 324,744 667
DEATHS 6,692 19

• Bullish bets raised on six of nine emerging Asian unitsSINGAPORE: Long positions on the South Korean won and Taiwan's dollar surged to a more than two-and-a-half year high, a Reuters poll showed, as the export-reliant economies benefited from easing coronavirus lockdowns around the world.

Bets in favour of the Chinese yuan rebounded after a sharp pullback earlier this month, while bearish positions on the Thai baht and Indonesian's rupiah were trimmed, the fortnightly poll of 16 respondents showed.

Taiwan's dollar, Asia's best performer so far this year as demand for laptops and other gadgets among people working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic spurs the tech-heavy economy, saw bullish bets jump to their highest since January 2018.

South Korea's won has been propped up by rising exports while the central bank has kept its policy rate at a historic low and reiterated an accommodative monetary stance.

While investors were still bearish on Indonesia's rupiah, they trimmed positions from two weeks ago as Bank Indonesia (BI) again held off on cutting interest rates this week, and lawmakers last week passed an "omnibus" bill to improve investment climate and create jobs.

Nicholas Mapa, a senior economist at ING, warned in a note this week that though the rupiah has seen some reprieve since the passage of the law, it "remains susceptible to potential weakness given investor anxiety over BI's recent burden sharing agreement with the national government."

Investors were also still short on the Thai baht after turning bearish earlier this month as protests against the government and monarchy overshadow efforts to rejuvenate the economy, in particular the key tourism sector.

Long bets on Malaysia's ringgit inched higher despite a political tussle that has seen opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim stake his claim to form a new government and call on Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to resign.

The Asian currency positioning poll is focused on what analysts and fund managers believe are the current market positions in nine Asian emerging market currencies: the Chinese yuan, South Korean won, Singapore dollar, Indonesian rupiah, Taiwan dollar, Indian rupee, Philippine peso, Malaysian ringgit and the Thai baht.

The poll uses estimates of net long or short positions on a scale of minus 3 to plus 3. A score of plus 3 indicates the market is significantly long US dollars.