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Markets

EM ASIA FX-Most Asian currencies slip against stronger dollar; weaker yuan fix weighs

The People's Bank of China set the midpoint rate at 7.0012 per dollar, 186 pips or 0.27pc weaker than the previous
19 Feb 2020
  • The People's Bank of China set the midpoint rate at 7.0012 per dollar, 186 pips or 0.27pc weaker than the previous fix of 6.9826.
  • The Taiwan dollar and the South Korean won also declined about 0.1pc each.

Most Asian currencies fell against a stronger dollar on Wednesday, with the Indonesian rupiah declining the most, after China's central bank set the midpoint of the yuan weaker than a key threshold for the first time in nearly two months.

The People's Bank of China set the midpoint rate at 7.0012 per dollar, 186 pips or 0.27pc weaker than the previous fix of 6.9826. The Chinese yuan slipped 0.1pc.

"The weakness in Asian currencies probably stem from the weaker yuan fixing today, which was fixed weaker than 7, which suggest that Chinese authorities are comfortable with further weakening in the currency," said Khoon Goh, head of Asia research at ANZ.

Worries of the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreaks continued to dampen investor sentiment as the death toll from the epidemic passed 2,000 in the mainland, although a fall in the number of new cases offered a slight reprieve.

Meanwhile, Asian units also faced pressure from a stronger greenback, as the dollar, against a basket of currencies, hovered near a four-month high.

"With the euro, the biggest component in the dollar index, offering little resistance, coupled with the risk-aversion stemming from the coronavirus outbreak, the U.S. dollar has scant reason to come off these elevated levels," said Han Tan, a market analyst at FXTM, in a note.

The Taiwan dollar and the South Korean won also declined about 0.1pc each.

Against the broader trend, the Philippine peso continued to trade fairly stronger as the impact of the virus outbreak on its economy is expected to be relatively less severe.

The Thai baht saw marginal gains after comments on Tuesday that the Thai government's support measures and the passage of a delayed budget bill will help ease the economic blow from the coronavirus.