Asia forex sentiment less optimistic as yuan stays weak: Reuters Poll

SINGAPORE Thu Apr 24, 2014 2:51pm IST

A clerk counts 100 Chinese yuan banknotes at a branch of China Merchants Bank in Hefei, Anhui province March 17, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer/Files

A clerk counts 100 Chinese yuan banknotes at a branch of China Merchants Bank in Hefei, Anhui province March 17, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer/Files

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SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Sustained weakness in the Chinese yuan has soured sentiment on emerging Asian currencies while views on the Singapore dollar turned negative in the past two weeks, a Reuters poll showed on Thursday.

Short positions in the yuan slightly increased, according to the survey of 13 analysts, as the renminbi hit a 16-month low on Wednesday.

China has been trying to dent speculation over one-way appreciation in the yuan. As a result, the currency's weakness, has bolstered the market's bearish views and boosted dollar demand among local companies.

Growing pessimism on the Chinese currency weighed on other emerging Asian currencies as they tend to closely track the yuan due to the region's heavy dependence on the world's second-largest economy.

Long positions in the Taiwan dollar and the Malaysian ringgit, which are often used as a proxy to bet on yuan moves, fell.

Sentiment on the Singapore dollar, another yuan proxy currency, turned bearish after the central bank trimmed this year's headline inflation forecast.

The South Korean won's long positions also fell.

Meanwhile, bullish bets on the Indonesian rupiah were cut back after the main opposition party failed to win enough votes in parliamentary elections to nominate the popular Jakarta governor Joko Widodo for the presidential election without the help of other parties.

The rupiah came under further pressure on month-end corporate dollar demand and higher bond yields.

Long positions in the Indian rupee fell as investors took profits ahead of parliamentary elections in May. Oil importers' dollar bids also weighed on the rupee.

The previous poll showed sentiment on emerging Asian currencies improved on easing views of an early rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The Reuters survey is focused on what analysts believe are the current market positions in nine Asian emerging market currencies: the Chinese yuan, South Korean won, Singapore dollar, Indonesian rupiah, Taiwan dollar, Indian rupee, Philippine peso, Malaysian ringgit and the Thai baht.

The poll uses estimates of net long or short positions on a scale of minus 3 to plus 3.

A score of plus 3 indicates the market is significantly long U.S. dollars. The figures included positions held through non-deliverable forwards (NDFs).

(Additional reporting by Shaloo Shrivastava in BANGALORE; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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