Asian currencies rise on hopes of Ukraine summit

February 21, 2022: Asian currencies edged higher on Monday, with the Thai baht leading the pack as risk appetite got a boost on plans by U.S. President Joe Biden and Russia's Vladimir Putin to hold a summit on the Ukraine crisis.

The Philippines peso and the Singaporean dollar were up about 0.1% each, the South Korean won appreciated 0.2% on its third straight day of gains, while the Malaysian ringgit traded flat.

The office of French President Emmanuel Macron said in a statement on Monday he had pitched to both Biden and Putin a summit over “security and strategic stability in Europe.”The White House said Biden had accepted the meeting “in principle” but only “if an invasion hasn't happened.” 

Investors see the summit as a glimmer of hope out of the crisis that has global markets rattled over the past few weeks. 

However, the risk-off sentiment still lingered as market players were cautious on any further developments between both countries, along with the prospect of an aggressive tightening of policy rates by the U.S. Federal Reserve. 

Heightened geopolitical risks combined with rising rampant inflationary concerns have added to the pressure on Asian markets in recent weeks.

“When a diplomatic solution to Ukraine is (hopefully) eventually reached, U.S. yields should resume their upward trend and help pull the dollar higher as well,” analysts from Brown Brothers Harriman said in a research note.

The dollar is likely to get a boost if Russia-Ukraine tensions persist this week, the analysts added.

In Asia, the Thai baht rose about 0.2%, lingering near its five-month high, after Southeast Asia's second-largest economy reported higher-than-expected GDP growth for the fourth quarter on the back of higher exports and domestic activity picking up. 

The South Korean won also climbed about 0.1% after the Asian trade bellwether's exports surged for the first 20 days in February driven by higher outdoor shipments of semiconductors and petroleum products.

The Chinese yuan rose marginally after the central bank kept its one-year and five-year loan prime rates steady. 

Emerging Asian equities were under pressure, with the Philippines benchmark <.PSI> falling the most, as much as 2.2% in its third consecutive session of losses.

Others like Malaysian shares, stocks in Thailand and Taiwanese equities were down in the range of 0.1% and 0.8%.

Meanwhile, Singaporean equities rose slightly, helped by its financial year budget for 2022 announcement on Friday, where the fiscal deficit for FY2021 was pegged at 0.9%. 

Shares in Indonesia also gained about 0.2%.

Reuters

Posted on: 2022-02-21T10:34:25+05:00

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