Friday, June 9, 2023
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Asia FX sinks amid hawkish Fed bets, China COVID jitters By

© Reuters.

By Ambar Warrick– Asian currencies fell on Thursday as stronger-than-expected U.S. retail sales data boosted the dollar with the prospect of more hawkish moves by the Fed, while worsening COVID-19 cases in China also dampened sentiment towards the region.

was among the worst performers in the region, sinking 0.6% to 7.1336 against the dollar amid waning hopes that the country will scale back broader COVID-19 restrictions.

China’s daily COVID count grew at its fastest pace in seven months this week, prompting more restrictions by the government in major financial hubs. Weak and data released earlier this week also showed that the Chinese economy was once again struggling with renewed lockdown measures.

This largely offset optimism over China’s relaxing of some quarantine and movement curbs last week, as the country appears likely to implement more lockdowns to curb rising infections.

Weakness in China also dampened sentiment towards broader Asian markets, given their heavy trade reliance on Beijing.

fell 0.4%, while the slumped 0.5%. The Australian currency took little support from data this week that showed strength in the labor market.

The and rose 0.2% each after data released overnight showed grew far more than expected in October.

While the data reflected strength in the U.S. economy, it also cast doubts over whether inflation will cool as steadily as expected – a scenario that is likely to necessitate more interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

The central bank is widely expected to in December. But officials also warned that the bank will adopt a largely data-driven approach to planning future rate hikes – one that could spur bigger hikes if inflation proves to be stubborn.

The traded flat, even as data showed the country’s grew more than expected in October. This was spurred by an over 50% spike in , as a severely weakened yen ramped up the cost of fuel and food shipments to the country.

Former Bank of Japan deputy governor Hiroshi Nakaso that the bank should consider normalizing its ultra-loose monetary policy, which has dented the yen this year.

In Southeast Asia, the fell 0.2% after the island state’s shrank further in October. , a key driver of the Singapore economy, fell sharply during the month amid waning global demand.



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