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Markets

Baht, peso weaken, while most of Asia FX steadies

  • The Thai baht weakened 0.5% on Monday, playing catch up with peers that had eased while Thai markets were closed on Friday for a holiday
Published September 27, 2021
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Thailand's baht and the Philippine peso eased on Monday as fellow emerging Asian currencies eked out meagre gains against a broadly flat US dollar.

The Thai baht weakened 0.5% on Monday, playing catch up with peers that had eased while Thai markets were closed on Friday for a holiday. The region's worst performing currency this year has lost more than 10% against the dollar.

Investors also digested weaker-than-expected export data from Southeast Asia's second-largest economy and looked ahead to the Bank of Thailand's policy meeting on Wednesday.

Poon Panichpibool, a strategist at Krung Thai Bank, said selling pressure will remain on the baht due to prolonged impact of recent COVID-19 outbreaks in Thailand.

"It will take quite some time to boost consumer confidence with hefty household debt and uncertainty about future outbreaks or lockdowns. Moreover, the delayed reopening of major cities for tourism should also limit economic recovery in near-term."

The tourism-reliant nation last week delayed to November plans to grant vaccinated visitors entry without quarantine, raised the public debt ceiling, and promised to ramp up vaccinations and stimulus measures.

The Philippine peso, which has depreciated more than 2.5% so far this month amid a burgeoning trade deficit, lost another half a percent and hit a fresh two-month low.

"The widening trade deficit and general winding down of financial account flows are two factors that will likely weigh (on the peso)," said Nicholas Mapa, a senior economist at Ducth bank ING.

Data earlier this month showed the Philippines' trade deficit remained above $3 billion for a fourth consecutive month in July.

Markets were also cautious as they awaited updates on China Evergrande's debt crisis, though the slight uptick in risk sentiment helped stocks in Singapore hit a near three-week high.

Chinese shares dropped 1%, however, which weighed on other regional equities such as Indonesia and Malaysia.

Highlights:

** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are down 1 basis points at 6.227%.

** The top gainer on Singapore's benchmark index was Capitaland Investment, up 6.1%.

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