Asian Currencies Advance in Week as U.S. Default Concern Eases
Asian currencies rose, heading for a second weekly gain, as optimism U.S. lawmakers will raise the debt limit to avoid a default spurred demand for riskier assets.
Indonesia’s rupiah led the advance as the Bloomberg-JPMorgan Asia Dollar Index rose 0.1 percent from Oct. 4. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index of stocks climbed for a fourth day today, the longest winning streak since Sept. 12, after House Republicans proposed yesterday a short-term increase in the debt ceiling that would push the lapse of U.S. borrowing authority to Nov. 22 from Oct. 17.
“Markets are pricing in some kind of resolution in the U.S., therefore there is some modest positioning for Asian currencies,” said Nizam Idris, head of strategy for fixed income and currencies at Macquarie Bank Ltd. in Singapore. “When it happens, Asian currencies will bump up quite aggressively. The week started with some concern.”
Indonesia’s rupiah climbed 0.5 percent from a week ago to 11,465 per dollar as of 10:45 a.m. in Jakarta, according to prices from local banks compiled by Bloomberg. India’s rupee and Taiwan’s dollar appreciated 0.4 percent to 61.2175 and NT$29.400, respectively. The Malaysian ringgit rose 0.2 percent to 3.1778, and China’s yuan advanced 0.07 percent to 6.1180.
U.S. President Barack Obama told Republicans during a White House meeting that he wants to raise the debt limit and end a partial government shutdown, now in its 10th day, Representative Hal Rogers of Kentucky said yesterday. The Republican proposal released yesterday included only a short-term increase in the debt limit.
If the U.S. fails to raise the borrowing cap by Oct. 17, the government will have $30 billion plus incoming revenue to pay its bills. It would start missing scheduled payments, including benefits, salaries and interest, between Oct. 22 and Oct. 31, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
The rupiah headed for a second weekly gain after Bank Indonesia set guidelines on Oct. 9 for individuals and companies, including state-owned firms, to hedge against currency swings. Indonesia’s current-account deficit at 2.5 percent to 2.7 percent of gross domestic product in 2014 would be “acceptable,” compared with 4.4 percent last quarter, Senior Deputy Governor Mirza Adityaswara said yesterday.
“Longer-term strengthening in the rupiah will be data-dependent, with all eyes on the external balance,” said Saktiandi Supaat, head of foreign-exchange research at Malayan Banking Bhd. (MAY) in Singapore. “We will see more impact on the volatility starting next month as local companies take out hedges.”
The rupiah is set to rebound from its biggest loss in 2000, trading patterns suggest. Its relative-strength index, calculated on a monthly basis to smooth out volatility, was as high as 89 at the end of September, the most-oversold level in more than 15 years. The rupiah plunged 16 percent this year, the biggest since a 27 percent tumble in 2000.
The ringgit rose for a second day as the benchmark stock gauge, the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index, gained 0.6 percent, the most this month. Official data last week showed Malaysia’s overseas shipments expanded 12.4 percent in August, more than the median 4.7 percent estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. The U.S. is the nation’s fourth-biggest export market.
“Optimism that the U.S. will avoid a default is helping to boost sentiment on Asian currencies,” said Yeah Kim Leng, chief economist at RAM Holdings Bhd. in Kuala Lumpur. “The ringgit could strengthen further as the U.S. is one of Malaysia’s major trading partners.”
Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea’s won was little changed in the past five days at 1,070.23, while the Philippine peso and the Thai baht lost 0.1 percent to 43.110 and 31.298, respectively. Vietnam’s dong rose 0.1 percent to 21,100.
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