Asian currencies were mixed against a choppy US dollar in thin trading on Monday, with the Chinese yuan remaining pressured after President Xi Jinping picked a governing body filled with loyalists as he secured a third leadership term.
Chinese shares and its currency sank 0.9% and 0.4% respectively after the line-up for the new Politburo Standing Committee reinforced Xi’s ideology-driven policies, which could come at the cost of economic growth.
Asia’s largest economy also reported mixed economic data on a day when markets in India, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia were closed because of public holidays.
China’s gross domestic product (GDP) rose 3.9%, beating a Reuters estimate of 3.4% growth, but retail sales numbers softened.
Beijing continues to face economic growth hurdles because of its zero-COVID policy and weakness in its property sector.
“The changing of the guard comes at a difficult time for the mainland economy and should be seen as a risky move,” analysts from Brown Brothers Harriman said in a research note.
TD Securities had expected the yuan to reach 7.3 against the US dollar by the end of the fourth quarter, but that seems likely to be hit much sooner and possibly within days, said Mitul Kotecha, its head of emerging markets strategy.
Japan’s suspected central bank intervention in the foreign exchange market also kept global investors on edge, though authorities did not confirm taking action.
At 0407 GMT, the dollar index, which measures the strength of the greenback against a basket of six currencies was at 112.25, showing demand for the safe-haven asset after a choppier start.
However, global sentiment was boosted when a number of US Federal Reserve officials said the central bank could adopt a less hawkish stance in the December meeting.
Market participants widely expect the Fed will announce a 75 basis point hike at its Nov. 1 to Nov. 2 meeting.
Third-quarter GDP data from the world’s largest economy due on Thursday and the personal consumption expenditure index to be issued on Friday are likely to set the stage for further Fed rate hikes, according to investors.
Shares in Philippines, Taiwan and Indonesia gained between 0.6% and 1%.
The South Korean won rose as much as 0.1% as one of Asia’s largest economies said on Sunday it would extend its corporate bond-buying programme to support the financial system.
The Indonesian rupiah and the Philippines peso notched up gains of 0.2% and 0.1% respectively, whereas the Taiwan dollar traded 0.1% lower.
For the year to date, only Indonesia and Singapore have recorded single-digit currency declines against the greenback, with other Asian peers logging double-digit slides.
Singapore and Vietnam are expected to report inflation data later this week.
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