January 24, 2018 / 6:36 AM / 8 months ago

Most currencies firm, dollar index slips to three-year low

(Reuters) - Most emerging Asian currencies climbed on Wednesday, with the yuan touching a more than two-year high, as the dollar extended its weak run against a basket of major currencies to a fresh three-year low.

FILE PHOTO: South Korean 10,000 won note is seen on U.S. 100 dollar notes in this picture illustration taken in Seoul, South Korea, December 15, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against six rival currencies, slipped below 90 for the first time since December 2014.

The dollar touched a four-month low against the yen on Wednesday, pressured by simmering concerns that the U.S. currency’s yield advantage will start to erode as major central banks head toward unwinding their massive stimulus.

“I couldn’t put it (Asian currencies’ gain) down to any specific reasons for any specific currencies; it is more a broad-based dollar weakness against most Asian currencies,” said Nizam Idris, head of strategy, fixed income and currencies, at Macquarie Bank Ltd, Singapore.

In emerging currencies, the Taiwan dollar rose as much as 0.6 percent, while the Thai baht was on track to gain for five straight sessions, up as much as 0.4 percent to more than a four-year high.

Thailand’s central bank will not intervene in the baht for trade advantage but will act only to smooth out its excessive moves, the governor said on Tuesday.

Both currencies were the best performers in the region.

China’s yuan edged up as much as 0.4 percent, its firmest since December 2015.

The Malaysian ringgit rose for a fourth straight session, up as much as 0.2 percent to a nearly two-year high, while the Philippine peso inched up as much as 0.3 percent after a weak session on Tuesday.

The Indian rupee scaled as much as 0.2 percent, while the Singapore dollar, also up as much as 0.2 percent, hit a three-year high.

YUAN

China’s yuan on Wednesday rose for a seventh straight session and reached its strongest in more than two years against the U.S. dollar, which continued to weaken.

Continued dollar weakness has driven gains for the yuan to about 1.8 percent this year. In 2017, the Chinese currency strengthened around 6.8 percent, following three years of depreciating against the dollar.

Prior to market opening, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) set its official yuan midpoint at the strongest level in more than two years at 6.3916 per dollar.

In the spot market, the onshore yuan opened at 6.3983 per dollar and rose to 6.3850 per dollar at one point in morning trade, the strongest since Dec. 4, 2015.

The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0525 GMT.

CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR

Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move

Japan yen 109.910 110.29 +0.35

Sing dlr 1.315 1.3169 +0.16

Taiwan dlr 29.260 29.402 +0.49

Korean won 1069.300 1070.2 +0.08

Baht 31.704 31.83 +0.40

Peso 51.010 51.1 +0.18

Rupiah 13323.000 13320 -0.02

Rupee 63.643 63.77 +0.20

Ringgit 3.915 3.925 +0.26

Yuan 6.391 6.4084 +0.28

Change in 2018

Currency Latest bid End 2017 Pct Move

Japan yen 109.910 112.67 +2.51

Sing dlr 1.315 1.3373 +1.71

Taiwan dlr 29.260 29.848 +2.01

Korean won 1069.300 1070.50 +0.11

Baht 31.704 32.58 +2.76

Peso 51.010 49.93 -2.12

Rupiah 13323.000 13565 +1.82

Rupee 63.643 63.87 +0.36

Ringgit 3.915 4.0440 +3.30

Yuan 6.391 6.5069 +1.82

Reporting by Christina Martin in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Aaron Saldanha; Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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