Asia Currencies Decline as Europe Concerns Offset Stimulus Bets
Malaysia’s ringgit and the Indian rupee led declines among Asian currencies as Europe’s lack of progress in resolving its debt crisis made investors wary of riskier bets, cooling demand for emerging-market assets.
German Vice Chancellor Philipp Roesler said there can be no more aid for Greece if reforms aren’t carried out, while Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann said sovereign bond purchases by the European Central Bank won’t help solve the region’s crisis. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said in a letter dated Aug. 22 to California Republican Darrell Issa that the central bank has scope for further action to boost the economy. Bernanke gives a speech on Aug. 31 in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where he may clarify the potential for stimulus.
“I think there will be no clear resolution on Greece, which will continue to weigh on sentiment,” Thomas Harr, head of Asia local markets strategy at Standard Chartered Plc in Singapore, said in emailed comments to Bloomberg News. “Bernanke will be dovish, but that is already in the price.”
The ringgit weakened 0.3 percent to 3.1100 per dollar in Kuala Lumpur, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The rupee weakened 0.3 percent to 55.635 while the won fell 0.1 percent to 1,135.40, paring earlier losses as Moody’s Investors Service raised the nation’s debt rating one step to Aa3. The Bloomberg- JPMorgan Asia Dollar Index was headed for its lowest close in a week.
The yuan weakened for a third day, falling 0.04 percent to 6.3568, as the central bank lowered the currency’s fixing by the most in three weeks and the government urged greater support for exporters.
China needs targeted measures to promote steady exports and there are many “negative factors that will affect stable economic operations in the second half,” the official Xinhua News Agency reported on Aug. 25, citing Premier Wen Jiabao during an inspection tour in Guangdong. The People’s Bank of China lowered the yuan’s reference rate by 0.14 percent, the most since Aug. 2, to 6.3392 per dollar.
“Wen’s remarks signal the exports outlook remains weak, which weighs on the yuan,” said Banny Lam, chief economist at CCB International Securities in Hong Kong. “The yuan won’t return to an appreciation trend this year.”
Elsewhere, Indonesia’s rupiah and Taiwan’s dollar strengthened 0.1 percent to 9,523 and NT$29.980, respectively. Thailand’s baht and the Singapore dollar dropped 0.1 percent to 31.26 and S$1.2514, respectively. Vietnam’s dong appreciated 0.1 percent to 20,865. Financial markets in the Philippines are closed today for a holiday.
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