Currencies

Most Asian equities extend rally, currencies reverse losses

Most Asian shares rose on Tuesday, with those in Taiwan notching a three-week high, while weakness in the U.S. dollar cleared the path for regional currencies to regain some lost footing from earlier in the day.

Stocks in Taipei advanced as much as 0.4% to their highest level since Jan. 2, while those in Kuala Lumpur rose 0.6% to a 1-week high.

Benchmarks in Seoul and Manila were up 0.3% and 0.4%, respectively, by 0727 GMT.

Currencies in the region recovered some earlier losses after the dollar index slipped 0.3% at $103.00.

The dollar was pressured the yen, which rose as much as 0.7% following Bank of Japan Governor Kazuo Ueda’s comments, while Tokyo stocks climbed to a 34-year peak after the central bank maintained its ultra-loose monetary policy.

Shares in Thailand were trading flat after losing nearly 1% in the previous session.

The benchmark fell 1% last week, marking its worst week in three. Thailand’s economy is expected to grow 2.8% this year, a sharp downgrade from a previous projection of 3.2%, the finance ministry said.

Other currencies in the region struggled for direction, with the Chinese yuan and the South Korean won making the most ground, rising 0.3% and 0.4%.

The yuan was helped by a Bloomberg report that Chinese policymakers are seeking to mobilise about 2 trillion yuan ($278.91 billion) as part of a stabilisation fund to buy shares.

The Singapore dollar climbed 0.2%, while the Indonesian rupiah gave up early gains to trade flat.

“We recommend fading the sell-off in KRW but that aside, the broader Asia FX spot, volume and skew dynamics are more consistent with fundamentals than they first appear,” said Adarsh Sinha, an analyst at BofA Securities in a note.

Meanwhile, equities in China hovered near a five-year low despite the Bloomberg report.

Hong Kong shares, however, rallied after the country’s cabinet pledged to take more effective measures to stabilise market confidence.

HIGHLIGHTS:

** South Korea’s economy likely grew at slightly slower pace in Q4 – Poll

** Singapore Dec core inflation at 3.3% y/y

** China weighs stock market rescue package backed by $278 bln – Bloomberg News

 ($1 = 7.1708 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Roushni Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Varun H K)

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