Home Business Thai baht extends gains as most Asian FX weaken, stocks rise

Thai baht extends gains as most Asian FX weaken, stocks rise

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The Thai baht rose for a fifth

straight session amid weak emerging Asian currencies on Thursday

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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

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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

Singaporean dollar.

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

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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

curbing inflation.

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

0.2% each.

Asian equities were on a stronger footing, in line with

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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

firms.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan

rose 1% to touch a four-month high in morning

trade.

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.

HIGHLIGHTS:

** Thailand’s pace of headline CPI pace was well above the

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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>

China >

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

es

S.Korea >

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

Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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