NEW YORK, July 18 — Most Asian currencies edged up yesterday as the dollar came under renewed pressure, with the Thai baht hitting its strongest in more than two years and the won climbing to a 1-month high.
Uncertainty over the pace of the Federal Reserve’s policy tightening and worries that President Donald Trump will fail to deliver healthcare reforms hit the dollar.
A second attempt to pass a revised Rupublican healthcare bill in the Senate collapsed yesterday after two Republican Senators announced their opposition. The dollar’s index against a basket of six major currencies sank to a more than 10-month low of 94.74.
“We are seeing more of dollar sell-off and chase for yields into Asia currencies right now.” said Stephen Innes, senior trader at OANDA.
“This is why we are seeing the currencies trading a little bit favourably. The currencies which are having higher yields are attracting inflows right now.”
The Thai baht gained more than quarter of a per cent to hit its highest against the dollar since May 2015.
Nath Wongsaroj, corporate treasury trader at Mizuho Bank, said there was dollar selling by exporters on the day.
The Indian rupee inched up to hit its highest since June 15.
Analysts said rising speculation of a rate cut by the Reserve Bank of India at its policy meeting in August spurred demand for Indian bonds and equities.
Exchange data showed foreign investors have bought a net US$1.7 billion (RM7.278 billion) in Indian bonds and US$160.5 million in Indian equities so far in July.
The South Korean won rose to a one-month high of 1,124.5 to the dollar, compared with yesterday’s close of 1,128.3.
China’s yuan also firmed against the US dollar and looked set to strengthen for the seventh straight session. Analysts said China’s strong GDP growth in the second quarter was providing support for the currency.
“The strong 2Q prints suggest that activity momentum is strong enough for the economy to withstand tougher financial regulation and further monetary tightening,” Maybank said in a report.
“This could perhaps mean that CH-US yield spread could narrow less than what we have originally projected and lessen the pressure on the CNY against the USD.”
Stephen Innes from Oanda said a stable to stronger yuan will play favourably into the risk sentiment in the region. yesterday, a senior central bank adviser said depreciation pressures on the Chinese yuan have diminished due to more robust economic growth and rising foreign exchange reserves. — Reuters