Asian stocks, currencies rise on U.S. rate cut bets

July 4, 2024 - 4:27 PM
Stock image of US dollars. (Image by Brett Hondow from Pixabay)
  • Taiwan shares hit record high
  • Singapore stocks at highest level in over 2 yrs
  • Investors eye basket of data, due Friday

Asian currencies gained ground against a weaker dollar on Thursday, and equities climbed, with those in Taiwan touching a record high, as data suggested a cooling U.S. economy boosted the odds of the Federal Reserve cutting rates in September.

Taipei stocks <.TWII> jumped as much as 1.7% to touch a record high, as chip stocks mirrored the overnight gains in their Wall Street peers. Equities in Singapore <.STI> rose 0.6% to remain at their highest level since April 2022.

Manila shares <.PSI> gained 0.9% to a one-month peak, while stocks in Jakarta <.JKSE> advanced 0.6% to their highest since May-end.

Among currencies, the South Korean won <KRW=KFTC>, Taiwanese dollar <TWD=TP> and Malaysian ringgit <MYR=> appreciating between 0.2% and 0.5%.

The dollar index <=USD>weakened after softer-than-expected U.S. economic data, including a weak services report and ADP employment figures, signalled a slowdown in the U.S. economy, which was also noted in the minutes of the Fed’s last meeting.

That drove the odds of a rate cut in September up to about 67%, from about 60% a week ago, per the CME FedWatch Tool.

“Asian emerging markets are enjoying the ‘risk-on’ mode, with both Asian equities and Asian FX appreciating. Bonds are enjoying the rally too after the rally in U.S. treasuries last night,” said Chandresh Jain, Rates and FX strategist, Asia, Global Markets, BNP Paribas.

In Asia, the Bank of Korea could be the first to lower rates since the country’s inflation has eased faster than the central bank’s projection, Jain added.

However, a Reuters poll showed that emerging FX is unlikely to recover this year’s losses.

Regional investors now look out for inflation data from Thailand, the Philippines and Taiwan, along with U.S. nonfarm payrolls data, all set to be released on Friday.


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Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0700 GMT

—Reporting by Roshan Thomas in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonali Paul and Savio D’Souza