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Singapore dollar trades at $1.2358


FX markets stabilised.

IG Markets Singapore noted:

Last night was a choppy one for currencies, with US GDP and a Fed statement keeping traders on their toes.

The pledge from the Fed to keep QE3 unchanged stabilized major currencies, and kept the Singapore dollar virtually unchanged against the greenback.

Traders were torn between tracking the dollar weakness from the surprise contraction in US economic growth, and waiting for the Fed announcement on QE3.

In the end, one cancelled out the other as FX markets stabilised. This leaves the local currency trading at $1.2358 this morning.

DBS Group Research meanwhile reported:

January started well, but did not end well for Asia ex Japan (AXJ) currencies. The first half of the month was a follow-through of the recovery from the Eurozone crisis.

By the final quarter of 2012, our AXJ index moved out of the broad range trapped by the EU crisis, led by the export-led Asian Newly Industrializing currencies. No one was worried about the weak Japanese yen (JPY) back then.

In fact, global financial markets welcomed the weak yen when it started in mid-November. Yen carry trades added to global recovery hopes.

In the US, US housing data improved and a last minute deal assuaged US fiscal cliff worries. In China, real GDP data added to hopes that growth finally turned the corner. Of course, fragmentation risks in Eurozone subsided after the Fed and ECB assured the global financial system of liquidity.

Things started to turn awry towards the middle of January. Some countries began to worry that the weak yen may trigger a currency war. US 10-year government bond yields rose to their highest levels since April 2012, and raised worries that the Fed may hike rates sooner than later.

Together, export competitiveness worries and the prospect that the USD may be finding a footing, led to aggressive short-covering in the past week. In the end, markets are probably just worried that the six-month long rally in AXJ currencies needed a pause.

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