Dollar down, markets muted in Asia after Obama win

The dollar slipped in Asian trade Wednesday while share markets were muted after President Barack Obama won a second term in a closely-fought US presidential election.

The US unit fell against the euro and yen in afternoon trade, as dealers bet that under Obama the Federal Reserve would continue the loose monetary policy that has seen it flood markets with billions of dollars.

The European single currency bought $1.2840 in Tokyo, well up from $1.2788 earlier Wednesday and $1.2814 in New York late Tuesday. The greenback was at 80.25 yen compared with 80.34 yen in New York. It had fallen to below 80 yen at one point.

The euro bought 103.13 yen, from 102.96 yen in New York.

The dollar was also broadly lower against other Asia-Pacific currencies, falling to $1.0456 against the Australian dollar from $1.0432, to 1,084.60 South Korean won from 1,091.20 won and to Sg$1.2215 from Sg$1.2240.

Gold prices rose thanks to the weaker dollar, climbing to $1,729.40 by 1100 GMT compared with $1,679.75 late Tuesday.

A clear victory had been the overriding hope, allowing the government to work to avert the "fiscal cliff" which will dominate discussions in Congress between now and Christmas.

If Congress fails to agree how to cut spending over the medium term, there will be automatic deep spending cuts that could tip the United States back into recession, in a major blow for the slowing global economy.

On equity markets Sydney gained 0.71 percent, or 31.7 points, to end at 4,516.5. Tokyo was flat, nudging down 2.26 points to 8,972.89, while Seoul closed up 0.49 percent, or 9.38 points, at 1,937.55.

Hong Kong shares ended up 0.71 percent, or 155.42 points, at 22,099.85 and Shanghai was flat, edging down 0.27 points to 2,105.73.

"Investors have been factoring in his win and adjusting their positions likewise," said Kengo Suzuki, forex strategist at Mizuho Securities in Tokyo.

"The issue now is the uncertainty surrounding the US fiscal cliff, and how a divided Congress will deal with the issue," he added.

SHK Financial strategist Daniel So told Dow Jones Newswires: "An Obama victory ensures the continuity of US monetary policy, which is likely to be kept loose."

He added that a Romney win would likely have seen him "launch policies to incentivise fund flow back to the US, so in terms of liquidity inflow an Obama win also favours the Asian markets".

Wall Street ended with impressive gains ahead of the election results. The Dow rose 1.02 percent, the S&P 500 climbed 0.79 percent and the Nasdaq added 0.41 percent.

However, regional traders were still concerned about Europe's debt woes after data Tuesday showed a bigger-than-expected slump in factory orders in Germany, the eurozone's biggest economy.

Berlin said industrial orders declined 3.3 percent in September from August after falling 0.8 percent the previous month.

That is much steeper than expected. Analysts polled by Dow Jones had been pencilling in a fall of 0.5 percent.

The drop was largely due to a decline in export orders, particularly from the eurozone where they plummeted 9.6 percent.

And Greek lawmakers are due to vote later in the day on a new set of austerity measures -- including tax hikes and pension cuts -- that are needed to unlock the latest batch of international aid and stave off bankruptcy.

Eyes are also on the upcoming 18th congress of the Chinese Communist Party that begins on Thursday and which will see the country's leaders for the next 10 years anointed.

Oil prices were lower. New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in December, fell 21 cents to $88.50 a barrel in the afternoon and Brent North Sea crude for December shed seven cents to $111.00.

In other markets:

-- Singapore closed up 0.79 percent, or 23.94 points, at 3,043.27.

CapitaLand gained 2.65 percent to Sg$3.49 and DBS Group advanced 1.59 percent to Sg$14.06.

-- Taipei closed 0.70 percent higher, adding 50.50 points to 7,287.18.

Smartphone maker HTC gained 3.99 percent to Tw$ 208.5 while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co was 0.66 percent higher at Tw$91.0.

-- Manila fell 0.66 percent, or 36.32 points, to 5,437.29.

BDO Unibank was unchanged at 65 pesos while Metropolitan Bank and Trust slipped 0.9 percent to 98.40 pesos.

-- Wellington rose 0.50 percent, or 15.42 points, to 3,943.10.

Fletcher Building was up 1.68 percent at NZ$7.25 and Cavalier Corp. was steady on NZ$1.87.

-- Kuala Lumpur was almost unchanged, dipping 0.10 points to 1,645.53.

Axiata Group shed 3.2 percent to 5.83 ringgit, while Telekom Malaysia lost 1.6 percent to 5.60. Hong Leong Bank gained 1.7 percent to 14.68 ringgit.

-- Bangkok was flat, dipping 1.10 points to 1,299.74.

Telecoms company Advanced Info Service lost 2.59 percent to 188.00 baht, while coal producer Banpu added 0.26 percent to 389.00 baht.

-- Jakarta added 0.84 percent, or 36.16 points, to 4,350.42.

Car maker Astra International climbed 1.3 percent to 7,750 rupiah while state-controlled miner Aneka Tambang dropped 0.8 percent to 1,280 rupiah.

-- Mumbai rose 0.45 percent, or 85.03 points to 18,902.41 points

Private housing finance firm HDFC rose 1.92 percent to 797.35 rupees while India's largest commercial bank State Bank of India rose 1.91 percent to 2,214.35.

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  • Currencies
    Currencies
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    1.2585+0.0031+0.25%
    USDSGD=X
    1.7392+0.0045+0.26%
    EURSGD=X
    2.1138+0.0072+0.34%
    GBPSGD=X
    81.2153-0.4586-0.56%
    SGDJPY=X
    6.1604-0.0152-0.25%
    SGDHKD=X
    2.5974-0.0037-0.14%
    SGDMYR=X
    9,248.7393-50.9453-0.55%
    SGDIDR=X
    4.9652-0.0035-0.07%
    SGDCNY=X
    1.1657-0.0002-0.02%
    AUDSGD=X
  • Commodities
    Commodities
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    1,288.20+3.60+0.28%
    GCM14.CMX
    19.60+0.16+0.83%
    SIK14.CMX
    92.28-0.60-0.64%
    ^XAU
    3.12+0.06+1.88%
    HGK14.CMX
    102.01+0.57+0.56%
    CLM14.NYM
  • Bonds
    Bonds
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    1.75+0.04
    ^FVX
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    ^TNX
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    ^TYX

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    B22.SI
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    545.SI
    0.635+0.040+6.72%
    5WH.SI
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    E5H.SI
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    G13.SI
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    20.00+4.200+26.58%
    K6S.SI
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    570.SI
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    5GD.SI
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