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The Philippine peso rose on Wednesday to its highest in nearly four months, after annual inflation data a day earlier showed a surge to a 14-year high in November, reinforcing expectations of monetary tightening by the central bank later this month.

The peso rose 0.7%, although it is down about 8.1% this year, while equities in Manila dropped 0.7%.

The Southeast Asian nation’s consumer price index (CPI) rose 8.0% in November from a year earlier and year-to-date inflation stood at 5.6%, well outside the central bank’s 2%-4% target for the year.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has lifted rates six times this year and its governor last week hinted at another hike of 25 or 50 basis points at the Dec. 15 meeting.

“PHP is doing well after the BSP’s statement yesterday that it stood ready to take all necessary measures to bring inflation back to target, plus President Marcos’ statement today decrying ‘out of control’ inflation,” said Alvin Tan, head of Asia FX strategy at RBC Capital Markets.

Christopher Wong, a currency strategist at OCBC, said there could be further gains in the peso, with the next level at 55.

The peso was trading at 55.48 per dollar as of 0339 GMT.

News about China loosening some of the world’s toughest COVID-19 restrictions, with a negative test report no longer needed to enter supermarkets and offices in Beijing, further aided risk sentiment.

Indonesian rupiah gains, stocks drop as GDP fuels rate hike view

Thailand’s baht advanced 0.2% and Indonesia’s rupiah rose 0.1%. South Korea’s won and Singapore’s dollar were both flat.

Stocks in Asia were broadly lower, with equities in Seoul shedding 0.4% and Taiwan’s benchmark index down 0.5%. Stocks in Jakarta retreated 0.9%.

Equities in Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok were the only gainers among the region’s stock markets, rising 0.3% and 0.1%, respectively.

The Reserve Bank of India is widely expected to raise its key lending rate by 35 basis points, according to economists polled by Reuters, who expect another modest move up early next year to curb lingering inflation pressures.

Highlights:

  • China’s Nov exports and imports shrink further, worse than forecasts

  • Indonesia sees end-2022 headline inflation in 5.34%-5.5% range – minister

  • BOJ must maintain ultra-easy policy, says board member Nakamura

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