December 20, 2017 / 6:29 AM / 4 months ago

Most Asian FX muted, ringgit up after inflation data

(Reuters) - Most Asian currencies were tepid on Wednesday with the baht staying under pressure ahead of the Bank of Thailand’s policy review where it is expected to keep rates near record lows.

FILE PHOTO: A Malaysia Ringgit note is seen in this illustration photo June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration/File Photo

The South Korean won, the Taiwan dollar and the Philippine peso rose in the range of 0.3 percent to 0.1 percent, as the dollar steadied ahead of a vote in Congress to pass the widely anticipated U.S. tax reform bill.

The U.S. House of Representatives initially passed the tax legislation, but the bill included provisions that did not comply with Senate rules. The Senate is expected to vote on a revised version of the bill, with the offending provisions removed. If the Senate approves the bill as expected, the House will vote again on Wednesday.

A spike in U.S. Treasury yields helped the U.S. dollar firm overnight. [MKTS/GLOB]

The surge in Treasury yields was driven in part by expectations of tax reforms raising U.S. bond issuance, but many analysts said the immediate trigger was a jump in European bond yields on Tuesday after Germany unveiled a plan to issue more 30-year debt next year.[FRX/]

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six currencies, was up 0.01 percent at 93.437 by 0500 GMT

“Going forward markets are re-assessing whether or not tax reforms will bolster the economy, but at this junction they are reserved,” said Chang Wei Liang, an FX strategist with Mizuho Bank.

Investors will also be looking to Taiwan’s export orders in November due later on Wednesday. A Reuters poll showed that November orders likely rose for a 16th straight month but at a slower pace than the previous month, a positive sign for the island’s technology manufacturers.

The yuan edged up against the dollar, rising as much as 0.2 percent to its highest in three weeks.

China’s central economic work conference which opened on Monday, where top Chinese leaders will review the country’s economic performance in 2017 and make plans for 2018 concludes later in the day.

Meanwhile, the Thai baht was the worst performer in the region, having fallen for the past three days. It slipped as much as 0.6 percent on Wednesday, ahead of the Bank of Thailand’s rate decision expected after 0700 GMT.

All 14 economists a Reuters poll forecast the central bank’s one-day repurchase rate will be kept at 1.50 percent as economic growth picks up, inflation remains tame and high household debt remains a worry.

MALAYSIAN RINGGIT

The Malaysian ringgit edged up 0.2 percent as the country’s consumer price index in November rose 3.4 percent from a year earlier, in line with expectations and within the central bank’s projected range.

While the index eased for the second month in a row, a build-up in inflationary pressures from strong economic growth has raised expectations of an interest rate hike at the central bank’s next policy meeting in January.

Reporting by Chandini Monnappa in Bengaluru; Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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