The Philippine peso fell to a more than three-week low against a strong US dollar and led losses among emerging Asian currencies on Monday, as hawkish comments from several US central bankers hurt regional risk sentiment.
Federal Reserve officials Richard Clarida and Christopher Waller on Friday suggested that a faster pace of stimulus tapering may be appropriate amid a quickening recovery and heated inflation, pushing the greenback to multi-months high.
Riskier Asian currencies like the Philippine peso, Thai baht and the Indonesian rupiah fell between 0.2% and 0.3%.
"Expectations on Fed policy shifts will continue to weigh on AXJ (Asia ex-Japan) currencies," analysts at Mizuho said in a note.
Growing anxiety over surging COVID-19 infections in Europe also aided the dollar, while safe-haven assets such as bonds, gold and the yen have also benefited from the recent cautious tone in financial markets.
"Given renewed lockdowns in Europe, questions should also be asked on the durability of re-opening in rather fragile EM-Asia economies," Mizuho analysts added.
Shares in Seoul rose 1.3% and were on course to notch their best session since Nov. 12, as chip heavyweights in the country tracked US peers higher.
Meanwhile, customs agency data from South Korea showed the country's exports for the first 20 days of November jumped 27.6%, benefiting from a continued sales boost in semiconductor and petroleum products.
Equities in Singapore rose 0.3%, as some of the tight social curbs imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19 were eased.
As of Nov. 20, Singapore's daily COVID-19 cases had fallen below 3,000 on average. About 85% of the island nation's 5.45 million people had been vaccinated. Stocks in the broader region were largely subdued amid talk about hastened Fed tapering.
Shares in Jakarta fell 0.3%, retreating from the record high scaled on Friday, while stocks in Manila fell 0.5%.
Separately, Taiwan's central bank governor said there are concerns that any interest rate hike now could lift the local currency, but will "definitely" follow the global tightening trend for next year.
** In South Korea, Samsung Electronics and peer SK Hynix rose 5.1% and 7.6%, respectively
** Top index loser in the Philippines was SM Prime Holdings Inc, down 2.92%
** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are up 1.3 basis points at 6.189%