BENGALURU: Most Asian currencies and stocks steadied in thin holiday trade on Thursday, with the Philippine peso and China’s yuan nudging higher as investors dialled back projections of rate cuts by the US Federal Reserve after data hinted at a still-tight labour market.
The peso and the yuan rose as much as 0.4%, each by 0749 GMT. The Malaysian ringgit and Thailand’s baht inched 0.1% and 0.2% lower, respectively.
The dollar index inched lower by 0.2% at 0801 GMT and Treasury yields rebounded from early declines after data showed the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week.
The dollar has been in a three-week spell of weakness — helping Southeast Asian currencies regain some lost ground — as economic data pointed to evidence of a slowing US economy and disinflation.
The Indonesian rupiah was largely flat after the country’s central bank kept interest rates unchanged, as expected, despite renewed volatility that has seen the currency shed more than 2% this month.
Bank Indonesia (BI) had unexpected hiked rates last month to arrest the currency’s decline and shore up investor confidence.
“The case for rupiah stability, while still present, is arguably not as pressing as in October as recent developments have likely bought BI some breathing space,” analysts at Mizuho Bank said in a note.
Even if risks re-emerged, the analysts said, BI could act on Dec. 21, after the Federal Reserve’s meeting on Dec. 12.
Separately, the Indonesian central bank is eyeing investment from foreign institutional investors through the inaugural auction of new securities in US dollars, called SVBI, and its Islamic finance version SUVBI.