(Feb 12): Most emerging Asian currencies barely moved on Tuesday, with the dollar remaining firm and many investors steering from risk while waiting to see what comes out of this week's key U.S.-China trade talks.
U.S. and Chinese officials expressed hopes that the talks in Beijing, to be joined late this week by top officials, will ease their trade war, and avert a March 1 imposition of higher tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese goods by Washington.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research, in a note, said there's a strong consensus favouring an extension of the 90-day "ceasefire" U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to on Dec 1.
However, an extension "with little meaningful progress may now disappoint", it said.
Uncertainty on the talks' outcome, coupled with concerns on global growth, kept the safe haven dollar near its 2019 high, following an 0.45% jump on Monday.
Pressured by strength of the dollar and higher oil prices the Indonesian rupiah dropped as much as 0.3%, the day's biggest drop for a regional currency, before paring the loss to 0.1%.
The Malaysian ringgit and Taiwan dollar both dipped 0.1%.
The Philippine peso firmed 0.2% after reporting the trade deficit narrowed to a three-month low in December, as imports tumbled for the first time in a year.
The Chinese yuan and Singapore dollar advanced 0.1% each.
India inflation data
The Indian rupee firmed 0.4% ahead of January inflation data due later in the day.
A Reuters poll predicted the inflation rate nudged up slightly but remained below the central bank's target for a sixth straight month.
DBS Group Research, in a note, said the central bank signalled last week that "benign headline inflation, rather than elevated core, was the key mandate and in so far as prints, remain below the target, the panel will have the space to take a growth supportive stance".
The Reserve Bank of India on Thursday unexpectedly lowered interest rates and, as anticipated, changed its policy stance to "Neutral" to boost a slowing economy.
The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0544 GMT.
CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR
Change on the day at 0544 GMT
Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move
Japan yen 110.570 110.36 -0.19
Sing dlr 1.359 1.3608 +0.13
Taiwan dlr 30.840 30.809 -0.10
Korean won 1123.500 1124.7 +0.11
Baht 31.350 31.35 +0.00
Peso 52.140 52.22 +0.15
Rupiah 14055.000 14035 -0.14
Rupee 70.910 71.17 +0.36
Ringgit 4.075 4.07 -0.12
Yuan 6.785 6.7920 +0.10
Change so far in 2019
Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move
Japan yen 110.570 109.56 -0.91
Sing dlr 1.359 1.3627 +0.27
Taiwan dlr 30.840 30.733 -0.35
Korean won 1123.500 1115.70 -0.69
Baht 31.350 32.55 +3.83
Peso 52.140 52.47 +0.63
Rupiah 14055.000 14375 +2.28
Rupee 70.910 69.77 -1.61
Ringgit 4.075 4.1300 +1.35
Yuan 6.785 6.8730 +1.30