Peso weakens further as Duterte stirs investor worry: poll

Reuters

Posted at Sep 29 2016 05:18 PM

Peso weakens further as Duterte stirs investor worry: poll 1

MANILA - The peso weakened further on Thursday as investors worry over the impact of President Rodrigo Duterte's policy pronouncements, an analysts' poll showed.

The peso dipped to a fresh seven-year low of P48.35 to the dollar before closing at P48.33. A Reuters poll showed the outlook for the peso became more pessimistic due to political concerns as sentiment toward most emerging Asian currencies improved in the past two weeks due to expectations that US interest rates will rise gradually.

Bearish bets of the peso rose to the largest since November last year as the currency hit its lowest levels since September 2009 this week on equity outflows.

Duterte's anti-American outbursts have startled investors.Having been elected in May promising to eradicate drugs and crime, he has been angered by the international criticism of his war on drugs, which unleashed a wave of killings.

Standard & Poor's said last week the Philippines is unlikely to get a credit rating upgrade in the next two years, citing Duterte's unpredictability and uncertainty over his domestic and foreign policies.

The US Federal Reserve last week cut the number of rate increases expected in 2017 and 2018. It also reduced its longer-run interest rate forecast to 2.9 percent from 3 percent.

Bearish bets on the Chinese yuan's slid, according to the survey of 20 fund managers, analysts and currency traders conducted between Tuesday and Thursday.

China's policymakers are seen keeping the yuan stable as the currency is being inducted into the International Monetary Fund's reserve basket, known as Special Drawing Rights (SDR), on Saturday.

The yuan's inclusion is expected to draw more foreign demand for the currency, but some analysts said the extra demand is likely to be limited as global central banks have already
completed purchasing of the yuan.

Indonesia's rupiah, Thailand's baht and South Korea's won enjoyed the largest bullish bets since mid-August.

The rupiah hit a 17-month peak against the dollar earlier this week on inflows linked to Indonesia's tax amnesty program. Indonesian bonds were also popular as the country provides one of the highest yields in the region.

The ringgit suffered the largest bearish bets in four months despite a surprise OPEC's accord to curb oil production. Though Malaysia is not a member of OPEC, it is a marginal oil exporter and its sizable gas exports are linked to oil prices.

Short positions in the Singapore dollar hit the highest since late May, with eyes on the central bank's monetary policy meeting in October.

The city-state's Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has said the local economy is "in for a tough period that will last for a while," state-owned Channel NewsAsia reported late on Wednesday.

The poll is focused on what analysts and fund managers believe are the current market positions in nine Asian emerging market currencies: the Chinese yuan, South Korean won, Singapore dollar, Indonesian rupiah, Taiwan dollar, Indian rupee, Philippine peso, Malaysian ringgit and the Thai baht.

The poll uses estimates of net long or short positions on a scale of minus 3 to plus 3. A score of plus indicates the market is significantly long U.S. dollars.

The figures include positions held through non-deliverable forwards (NDFs).