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BENGALURU: Most emerging Asian currencies were poised for weekly gains on Friday, with the Malaysian ringgit and the Taiwanese dollar touching multi-month highs as investors remained hopeful about the prospects of sharp cuts in US interest rates next year.

The ringgit was up 0.5% at 0639 GMT, hitting its highest level since mid-August. Taiwan’s dollar advanced 0.3% to touch its highest since July 27.

The Philippine peso also added 0.2% to touch a two-week peak, and was set for its best weekly gain since early November.

Most currencies in emerging Asia appreciated during the week, helped by ongoing risk-on sentiment after unusually dovish remarks from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell last week ignited hope of sizeable rate cuts in 2024. Investor focus is now on the US core Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) index for November, due later on Friday, for more clarity on the Fed’s rate-cut timing. The Fed-fuelled “risk-on (sentiment) is prompting a softer US dollar, despite some pick-up in US Treasury yields,” Mizuho analysts said in a client note.

The Indonesian rupiah added 0.3%, recuperating from its slide on Wednesday, while stocks in Jakarta were up 0.4%.

Indonesia’s central bank kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 6.00% on Thursday after its last policy meeting for the year, echoing status-quo central bank decisions in the Philippines and Taiwan last week.

“For the time ‘higher-for-longer’ (US rates) remains, Bank Indonesia too would remain on hold, and the BI would eventually follow the Fed with a cut, once the Fed does so,” said economist Kunal Kundu at Societe Generale. Equities in Singapore surged 0.9% and are set to gain for a fourth consecutive day. Shares in India and Philippines advanced 0.6% and 0.3% respectively.

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