EMERGING MARKETS-Indonesian rupiah rallies on weak dollar; Asian stocks range-bound

By Savyata Mishra Jan 24 (Reuters) – Indonesia’s rupiah firmed to a four-month high on Tuesday amid tepid gains in other emerging Asian currencies against a weaker US dollar, with trading in the region largely subdued due to the Lunar New Year holiday. The rupiah IDR= strengthened as much as 1.1% against the dollar to hit its highest level since Sept. 15, and was headed to test 14,975 to 15,000 per dollar. “USD/IDR broke below the 15,000 handle which is a psychological support level, and also close to the 200-day moving average at 15,075,” TD Securities global strategist Alex Loo said. “Real policy rates have now turned positive, a factor that will also likely help to support the IDR rally.” Last week, Indonesia’s central bank raised its key policy rate by 25 basis points (bps) and signaled its tightening cycle was ending as inflation cooled faster than expected in the largest Southeast Asian economy. Aiding gains in holiday-thinned trading, the dollar index =USD struggled as traders continued to gauge the risks of a US recession and the path for the Federal Reserve policy. The Japanese yen JPY= rose 0.4%, while Nikkei index .N225 gained 1.46% to close at its highest close since Dec. 16. The Philippine peso PHP= gained 0.3%, with the country’s central bank governor anticipating annual inflation to ease to below 4% by the third quarter, as aggressive tightening and supply-side intervention take root. The Indian rupee INR=IN declined 0.3%, while Thailand’s baht THB=TH slipped 0.2%. The Thai central bank is expected to raise interest rates by 25 bps on Wednesday to curb elevated inflation, according to a Reuters poll. Its equities .SETI were up 0.2%. More central banks in Asia dialed back their policy tightening narrative last week, with the Malaysian central bank unexpectedly pausing and Indonesia signaling an early end to its cycle. China kept benchmark lending rates unchanged for a fifth straight month on Friday, as expected, but analysts say future cuts are possible, because the central bank has pledged to support the COVID-ravaged economy. Most Asian markets remained close for Lunar New Year celebrations including mainland China, Singapore, South Korea and Malaysia. “Markets are probably more quiet as people are more cautious, given the looming Fed FOMC meeting. Fed officials have officially entered in a communication blackout,” Loo added. Still, risk sentiment was buoyed by an overnight rally in US tech stocks and by broader optimism about China’s recovery following the abrupt end of its zero-COVID policy. Shares rose 0.3% in the Philippines .PSI, while those in India .NSEI were flat. Indonesian .JKSE stocks lost 0.3%. HIGHLIGHTS: ** Indonesia’s 10-year Treasury yield ID10YT=RR touched its lowest since March 4 ** Thailand received 11.15 million foreign visitors in 2022, a surge from just about 428,000 the previous year when broad pandemic-related travel curbs were in place, tourism ministry data shown on Tuesday ** Investors await US flash PMI data on Tuesday, Fed seen raising rates by 25 basis points on Feb. 1 Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0651 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX DAILY % FX YTD % INDEX STOCKS DAILY % STOCKS YTD % Japan JPY= +0.44 +0.78 .N225 1.46 4.62 China CNY=CFXS – +1.54 .SSEC – 5.68 India INR=IN -0.20 +1.43 .NSEI -0.01 0.06 Indonesia IDR= +0.97 +4.29 .JKSE -0.18 0.17 Malaysia MYR= – +2.73 .KLSE – 0.32 Philippines PHP= +0.28 +2.33 .PSI 0.28 7.96 S.Korea KRW=KFTC – +2.35 .KS11 – 7.10 Singapore SGD= +0.05 +1.66 .STI – 1.30 Taiwan TWD=TP – +1.12 .TWII – 5.62 Thailand THB=TH -0.12 +5.59 .SETI 0.28 1.20 Graphic: World FX rates https://tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E Asian stock marketshttps://tmsnrt.rs/2 zpUAr4 (Reporting by Savyata Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Bradley Perrett and Rashmi Aich) ((Savyata.Mishra@thomsonreuters.com;)) The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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