The Thai baht rose for a fifth
straight session amid weak emerging Asian currencies on Thursday
as the dollar seesawed after the U.S. Federal Reserve warned
against market bets on interest rate cuts this year, while
regional equities firmed.
The baht climbed 0.3% against the dollar, as the
currency of the oil importing nation was supported by a drop in
crude oil prices overnight and upside from China’s re-opening
expectations on the tourism-reliant economy.
Oil prices tumbled 5.2% overnight on demand worries but
rebounded in early Asian hours as investors took advantage of
the declines to buy.
China’s partial easing of the coal import ban on Australia
knocked Indonesian stocks down nearly 2%, their biggest
drop since Dec. 8.
Fakhrul Fulvian, chief economist at Trimegah Securities,
said the resumption could lead to lower prices for the commodity
that will pressure Indonesia’s current account.
The rupiah was down 0.2%.
The Philippine peso pared early losses to trade 0.1%
lower, similar to moves in Malaysia’s ringgit and the
The Philippine central bank said it was ready to take
further policy action to tackle inflation, which hit a 14-year
high in December, data showed on Thursday.
“Inflation came in slightly lower than expected which could
leave the door open for a less aggressive rate hike path this
year,” said Nicholas Mapa, a senior economist at ING.
“It seems the market is anticipating a
stronger-than-expected 4Q GDP print … outweighing the fact
that more rate hikes may be needed in the coming months to help
rein in inflation,” said Carlo Asuncion, a chief economist at
the Union Bank of the Philippines.
The dollar was wobbly after the minutes of the Fed’s
December policy meeting showed officials remained focused on
A survey report showed the U.S. labor market remained tight
which could further fuel bets on rate hikes to a higher level
than currently anticipated.
Still, China’s yuan and Japan’s yen rose
Asian equities were on a stronger footing, in line with
broader markets as investors continued to bank on hopes for
China’s emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic, with Singapore’s
stocks leading gains.
The Straits Times index rose 1.6% to notch its best intraday
session since Nov. 11, driven by gains in consumer and financial
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
rose 1% to touch a four-month high in morning
Seoul stocks rose 0.5%, with online service
providers leading the gains.
Shares in Malaysia were up 0.5%, while those in
Philippines rose 0.4%.
Thai stocks were down 0.2% after the country’s
headline consumer price index came in above the previous month
due to higher energy and food prices.
** Thailand’s pace of headline CPI pace was well above the
central bank’s target range reinforcing expectations that the
central bank will raise its key interest rate at its next
meeting on Jan. 25
** South Korean shares rose for a second session on
Thursday, in line with global markets after the U.S. Federal
Reserve’s December-meeting minutes
** China’s state planner has allowed three central
government-backed utilities and its top steelmaker to resume
coal imports from Australia
Asia stock indexes and
currencies at 0840 GMT
COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDEX STOCKS STOCKS
DAILY YTD % DAILY % YTD %
Japan +0.20 -0.94 <.n225>
India +0.03 -0.07 <.nsei>
Indonesia -0.19 -0.32 <.jkse>
Malaysia -0.05 +0.00 <.klse>
Philippin -0.14 -0.46 0.28 2.60
Singapore -0.04 -0.12 1.50 1.23
Taiwan -0.02 -0.04 <.twii>
Thailand +0.13 +2.14 <.seti>
(Reporting by Savyata Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by