S. Korean won best day in more than a month on rate hike hopes

  • Thai stocks, baht gain after central bank assurance
  • Singapore stocks gain the most, driven by Singtel’s rise

Jan. 11 (Reuters) – The South Korean won dominated the gains of Asian currencies on Tuesday, as bullish economic data raised prospects for higher interest rates, while telecoms stocks held down shares of Singapore on track for fourth consecutive session of increases.

The Indian rupee, Malaysian ringgit and Singaporean dollar strengthened between 0.2% and 0.3%, as the US dollar stagnated a day ahead of crucial inflation data that could provide more clarity on normalization Federal Reserve policy.

The won strengthened 0.4% to 1,194.70 per dollar, posting its best session since December 1, as strong partial trade data for January adds to the case for a tightening of the dollar. monetary policy of the Bank of Korea (BoK) at its meeting on Friday.

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Maybank analysts said the won was aided by the drop in COVID-19 cases and easing concerns over geopolitical tensions fueled by a North Korean hypersonic missile test, along with a warning from the Minister of Finance that currency movements were monitored.

“The focus is on the BoK’s monetary policy meeting as we seek a 25 basis point hike,” analysts said in a note, noting that stubbornly high inflation should prompt the central bank to continue. its tightening cycle, having already raised rates twice.

The Philippine peso strengthened 0.1%, recovering from earlier losses boosted by data showing the country’s imports continued to outpace exports in November, bringing its trade deficit to $ 4.71 billion.

Increasing fuel needs could lead to a worsening of the Philippines’ trade deficit and hurt the peso, said Nicholas Mapa, senior economist for the Philippines at ING.

Meanwhile, shares of Bangkok (.SETI) and the baht rose 0.4% and 0.3%, respectively, as the Bank of Thailand assured the Omicron coronavirus variant outbreak could be managed. in the first half of 2022, with the economy expected to return to its pre-pandemic levels in 2023. more

Among stocks, Chinese stocks (.SSEC) fell 0.7% amid concerns over national COVID-19 outbreaks, while most other markets posted moderate gains.

Leading the gains, Singaporean stocks (.STI) added 0.4%, driven by a 4% jump in Singapore Telecommunications (Singtel) (STEL.SI) on reports claiming the company was considering divesting its assets of Australian fiber worth billions of dollars. Singtel, however, said there was no assurance that a deal would be made.

STRONG POINTS

** Rupiah trades flat and shares of major Indonesian coal miners rise after coal export ban is lifted; Jakarta benchmark (.JSKE) is trading down 0.3%

** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields up 0.2 basis points to 6.465%

** In the Philippines, the main losers in the index are: AC Energy Corp (ACEN.PS), down 5.1%, and Converge Information & Communications Technology Solutions Inc (CNVRG.PS), down 4, 7%

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Reporting by Anushka Trivedi and Archishma Iyer in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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