Asian currencies subdued by uncertainty over US tax reform plans
BENGALURU, Nov 13 — Most Asian currencies were subdued today as uncertainty about US President Donald Trump’s tax reform plans checked investor enthusiasm.
The head of the House of Representatives’ tax-writing committee said yesterday he would not accept elimination of a federal deduction for state and local taxes, opposing a proposal from Senate Republicans that would hike taxes for some middle class Americans.
“Digesting tax reform banter is an unsavoury business as even the ambient noise is triggering unusual moves across asset classes which has traders scurrying looking for answers,” Stephen Innes, head of trading in Asia-Pacific for Oanda in Singapore, wrote in a note.
“But when usual correlations break down, it creates conflicting messages producing a scrambled picture and price discovery becomes virtually impossible,” he said.
The dollar was also pressured by worries over possible delays to Trump’s tax plans, but it managed to move up slightly in Asia.
The dollar index was up versus a basket of currencies during the session, underpinned by a rise in long-term US Treasury yields on Friday.
The South Korean won led the losses among regional currencies, falling 0.3 per cent, in tandem with the KOSPI stock index which eased 0.5 per cent as investor appetite for riskier assets ebbed.
The Chinese yuan, Taiwan dollar and Singapore dollar all lost ground marginally. Nudging in the positive direction, the Thai baht advanced 0.1 per cent to a near 4-week high, while the Malaysian ringgit also firmed slightly.
The ringgit was supported by Bank Negara Malaysia’s hawkish stance, while Thailand’s strong fundamentals underpinned the baht, said Qi Gao, FX Strategist at Bank of Nova Scotia.
Malaysia’s central bank said on Thursday it may consider reviewing the current degree of monetary accommodation given strength of global and domestic macroeconomic conditions.
Inflation for full-year 2017 is expected to come in at the higher end of its forecast range of 3-4 per cent.
The Bank of Thailand senior director Don Nakornthab said exports could grow more than the forecast 8 per cent this year.
The Indian rupee softened 0.2 per cent to its lowest in over a month, ahead of the release of its inflation data expected later in the day.
A Reuters poll forecast India’s retail inflation to have sped up to a seven-month high in October, led by a rebound in food prices as unexpected rains destroyed crops, diminishing the chances of further interest rate cuts.
A majority of the India’s central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee voted to keep rates steady last month on concerns that rising consumer prices would threaten the central bank’s medium-term inflation target of 4 per cent. — Reuters
Source: The Malay Mail Online