Singapore markets open in 1 hour 1 minute
  • Straits Times Index

    +32.97 (+1.05%)
  • S&P 500

    -11.09 (-0.22%)
  • Dow

    +22.07 (+0.06%)
  • Nasdaq

    -81.87 (-0.52%)
  • Bitcoin USD

    +2,234.12 (+3.65%)
  • CMC Crypto 200

    +425.41 (+48.04%)
  • FTSE 100

    +29.06 (+0.37%)
  • Gold

    -2.00 (-0.08%)
  • Crude Oil

    -0.10 (-0.12%)
  • 10-Yr Bond

    +0.0620 (+1.35%)
  • Nikkei

    +117.90 (+0.31%)
  • Hang Seng

    +134.03 (+0.82%)
  • FTSE Bursa Malaysia

    +4.34 (+0.28%)
  • Jakarta Composite Index

    -7,130.84 (-49.87%)
  • PSE Index

    +73.15 (+1.13%)

EMERGING MARKETS-Thai baht leads Asian currencies higher as dollar takes a breather

* BOK raises rates by 25 bps, as expected * PBOC sets firmer-than-expected official guidance * Eyes on Fed's Jackson Hole symposium * Bearish bets on yuan at 3-month high - Reuters poll By Upasana Singh Aug 25 (Reuters) - Thailand's baht and South Korea's won were the top gainers among Asian emerging currencies on Thursday as the dollar retreated ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's Jackson Hole conference. Stock markets in the region, however, were mixed, with equities in Bangkok advancing 0.6% and hitting their highest since June. Kuala Lumpur's main stock index gained 1.7%, while Singapore's benchmark index led declines in the region by losing 2.1%. The spotlight is squarely on Fed Chair Jerome Powell's speech at the annual monetary policy conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, due to begin on Friday. Comments from the conference are expected to signal the pace of future interest rate. "If Powell's commentary forces markets to further price in more supersized Fed rate hikes, that might trigger more declines for equities, while in turn allowing king dollar to continue exerting its dominance across the FX universe," said Han Tan, chief market analyst at Exinity Group. The dollar index, which measures the greenback against six counterparts, edged back from an almost two-decade peak, declining 0.5% on Thursday, but was still up more than 2% so far this month on broader hawkish interest rate environment. The weakness in the dollar boosted the appetite for emerging Asian currencies on Thursday, with the Thai baht appreciating 0.5% and leading gains. The gains came even as Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha was suspended from official duties on Wednesday on the grounds that he has held office for his full, legally mandated term. Traders are looking past political uncertainty in Thailand and focusing on other developments, such as stimulus from China, said Daniel Dubrovsky, senior strategist for DailyFX. The Chinese yuan - down more than 1.6% against the dollar so far in August - appreciated 0.2%, rebounding from a two-year low against the greenback as official guidance was set at a firmer-than-expected level. "The two consecutive stronger bias in fixings can be read as a policy intention to smooth the recent quick RMB (renminbi) depreciation," said Jingyang Chen, Asian FX strategist at HSBC Global Research said. Moreover, sources told Reuters that China's foreign exchange regulator phoned several banks on Wednesday to warn them against aggressively selling the Chinese currency. A Reuters poll of 12 analysts showed investors expect the Chinese yuan to fall the most among Asian currencies as Beijing eases its monetary policy to stimulate growth and the dollar strengthens on aggressive U.S. rate hikes. Stocks in Shanghai were up 0.8%. South Korea's won rose 0.5% after the country's central bank hiked its interest rates by 25 basis points and significantly lifted inflation forecasts, signalling further policy tightening. Elsewhere in Southeast Asia, Malaysia's ringgit and Philippine's peso firmed 0.3% each. Indonesia's rupiah rose 0.2%, while India's rupee fell 0.1%. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Bank of Japan policymaker vows to keep ultra-low rates, warns of economic risks ** China to promote fiscal, monetary policies to support job stabilisation ** Mapletree Pan Asia Commercial Trust and Jardine Matheson among top losers on Singapore's benchmark index The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0654 GMT. COUNTRY FX RIC FX FX INDE STOCKS STOCKS DAILY % YTD % X DAILY YTD % % Japan +0.38 -15.7 <.N2 0.58 -1.09 5 25> China EC> India -0.07 -6.93 <.NS 0.50 1.96 EI> Indonesi +0.17 -3.85 <.JK -0.20 1.03 a SE> Malaysia +0.31 -6.85 <.KL 1.67 -4.83 SE> Philippi +0.32 -8.75 <.PS -1.08 -1.52 nes I> S.Korea 6 11> Singapor +0.32 -2.89 <.ST -2.11 1.33 e I> Taiwan +0.20 -8.34 <.TW 0.87 -16.57 II> Thailand +0.47 -6.97 <.SE 0.57 -1.01 TI> (Reporting by Upasana Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)