SINGAPORE (Dec 1): Emerging Asian currencies from Malaysia's ringgit to South Korea's won hit new lows on Monday, as data highlighted the economic toll wrought by plunging oil prices, sending the dollar broadly higher.
The ringgit underperformed regional peers, falling to around 5-year lows as investors worried that U.S. crude's slide to a five-year low will hurt growth in Malaysia, a net oil exporter and major palm oil producer.
South Korea's won touched its weakest in more than 15 months after data showed an unexpected slide in November exports and as the yen fell to its lowest in more than seven years against the dollar.
The selloffs in the region's currencies come as sliding oil prices continue to stir deflation fears in the euro zone and Japan.
"Falling oil price reflects partly growth concerns, which are Asian FX negative. The monetary stance is expected to shift to easing bias in the medium-term," said Andy Ji, Asian currency strategist for Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Singapore.
Earlier on Monday, China reported slower growth in its manufacturing sector in November, suggesting the world's second-largest economy is still losing momentum.
China's yuan eased to two-month lows after the central bank set another weaker midpoint.
The Indonesian rupiah didn't escape the grim mood, skidding to an 11-month low as October exports fell more than expected.
Commonwealth Bank's Ji expects markets to increase the odds of a rate cut in Malaysia amid the deterioration in the trade sector, adding that in general the dollar is likely to remain firm this week.
Traders will also be focused on central bank meetings of the euro zone, England and Australia this week.
The ringgit lost as much as 1.6 percent to 3.4375 per dollar, its weakest since February 2010.
The Malaysian currency came under pressure from dollar demand linked to daily-fixing, while the central bank was suspected of intervening to limit the unit's depreciation, traders said.
The won fell as much as 1.1 percent to 1,120 per dollar, itsweakest since Aug. 23, 2013, after data showed exports in November unexpectedly tumbled their most in more than 1-1/2 years, increasing pressure for further rate cuts.
The rupiah slid 0.6 percent to 12,270 per dollar, its weakest since Jan. 7.
The official Jakarta Interbank Spot Dollar Rate (JISDOR), which the central bank launched last year in an effort to manage exchange rate fluctuations, was fixed at 12,264 rupiah per dollar, weaker than Wednesday's 12,196.
Indonesia's exports in October fell a worse-than-expected 2.21 percent from a year earlier, while a survey showed manufacturing activity contracted in November to its weakest level since early 2011.
CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR
Change on the day at 0435 GMT
Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move
Japan yen 118.86 118.61 -0.21
Sing dlr 1.3083 1.3045 -0.29
Taiwan dlr 31.062 31.039 -0.07
Korean won 1114.90 1107.90 -0.63
Baht 32.90 32.82 -0.24
Peso 44.93 44.89 -0.09
Rupiah 12270.00 12199.00 -0.58
Rupee 62.15 62.03 -0.20
Ringgit 3.4350 3.3825 -1.53
Yuan 6.1480 6.1450 -0.05
Change so far in 2014
Currency Latest bid End prev year Pct Move
Japan yen 118.86 105.28 -11.43
Sing dlr 1.3083 1.2632 -3.45
Taiwan dlr 31.062 29.950 -3.58
Korean won 1114.90 1055.40 -5.34
Baht 32.90 32.86 -0.11
Peso 44.93 44.40 -1.19
Rupiah 12270.00 12160.00 -0.90
Rupee 62.15 61.80 -0.56
Ringgit 3.4350 3.2755 -4.64
Yuan 6.1480 6.0539 -1.53