Peso, baht plumb multi-month lows to lead Asian forex falls

Harish Sridharan, Reuters

Posted at Jun 21 2021 05:27 PM

The Thai baht plumbed a more than eight-month low on Monday, the Philippine peso dropped to 2-1/2-month troughs and stock markets across Asia fell as broad-based dollar strength took a toll across emerging markets.

The Thai Baht weakened 0.6 percent, hitting its lowest since Oct. 1, as the bullish dollar technical bias remained intact, Reuters technical analyst Catherine Tan said. She said a break for the exchange rate above 31.60 could trigger more dollar buying.

The peso closed at 48.695 to the dollar.

Indonesian markets also face the double whammy of spiking coronavirus infections, with the country reporting its highest daily cases since Jan. 30 on Sunday and the most daily fatalities since early April. 

Indonesia's coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto said the country would tighten mobility restrictions in "red zones", where infections had been rising more quickly, for two weeks starting Tuesday. 

The rupiah weakened 0.4 percent to hit its lowest in seven weeks, extending losses for a sixth straight session.

"A firmer dollar, taken together with increased concerns over Indonesia's economic recovery in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases, are likely to keep the rupiah under pressure over the short term," said Mitul Kotecha, chief EM Asia and Europe strategist at TD Securities.

"Reduced risk appetite for Indonesian assets is evident in continued outflows from Indonesia's stock market."

The dollar hit a two-month high on Friday after the U.S. Federal Reserve surprised markets by signaling sooner-than-expected interest rate hikes, which Kotecha said implied "Asian FX will struggle to make headway over the weeks ahead".

Asian equities fell, taking cues from Wall Street's sharp decline on Friday, with stocks in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand all sliding more than 1 percent. 

Taiwan stocks closed 1.5 percent lower to mark their worst session in over one month, as daily COVID-19 infections falling below 100 failed to cheer investors.

The country's Ministry of Economic Affairs reported that the island's export orders rose 34.5 percent year-on-year in May, but missed Reuters poll expectations of a 40.15 percent jump. 


Watch more on iWantTFC