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Markets

Most Asian currencies flat after Fed message, more US data looms

  • Philippine stocks declined nearly a percent, giving away gains made in the previous session.
Published April 15, 2021

Most emerging Asian currencies were little changed on Thursday as investors digested the Federal Reserve's continued dovish stance and awaited more key US economic data before making further moves.

South Korea's won softened about 0.2%, losing some ground gained in the last session after its central bank left interest rates unchanged on worries that rising coronavirus cases could thwart economic recovery.

The Fed will reduce its monthly bond purchases before it commits to an interest rate increase, Chair Jerome Powell said on Wednesday, clarifying the order of monetary policy changes that are still months if not years in the future.

The dollar index hovered near four-week lows and US Treasury yields were largely flat. Still, emerging market currencies were unable to capitalize and most traded in a tight range by 0356 GMT.

"Near term, the technical picture is still unfavourable to the USD as data positives fail to carry and USD longs continue to liquidate, analysts at OCBC Bank said in a note.

Most Southeast Asian currencies have strengthened against the softening dollar so far in April, with the South Korean won, Singapore dollar, Philippine peso and the Malaysian ringgit firming between 0.2% and 1.2%.

Markets were also looking ahead to the release of US weekly jobless claims and March retail sales data later in the day for cues on the speed and extent of recovery in the world's largest economy.

Equities in Indonesia slipped 0.1% after data showed its March trade surplus narrowed, largely in line with a Reuters poll, as exports and imports jumped higher than expected.

Philippine stocks declined nearly a percent, giving away gains made in the previous session.

Meanwhile, data showed foreign investors continued to purchase emerging-market bonds in March, though inflows mainly focused on South Korean bonds as investors searched for safety among emerging-market bonds.

S.Korea's most liquid 3-year treasury bond yield added 11.3 basis points (bps) in March, while yields on Indonesia's 10-year benchmark, one of the highest-yielding bonds in the region, rose 21.6 bps.

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