Philippine peso steady after GDP data, Asian FX firms on weaker dollar
Philippines' Q4 GDP grew above consensus
U.S. Q4 advance GDP due later in the day
Markets shut in China, India
By Savyata Mishra
Jan 26 (Reuters) -The Philippine peso inched higher on Thursday, keeping those gains after data showed faster-than-forecast economic growth, while other Asian currencies also rose slightly against a weaker greenback.
The peso PHP= was up 0.2%. The Philippine economy grew at a stronger-than-forecast annual rate of 7.2% in the fourth quarter due to pent-up demand following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.
"The above-consensus GDP growth in 2022 should give the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) space to tighten policy further in the first half of 2023," said Nicholas Mapa, a senior economist with ING.
The Thai baht THB=TH firmed 0.2% a day after the Bank of Thailand (BoT) lifted interest rates by 25 basis points as expected, and hinted at measured tightening ahead.
"We think that the BOT would be keen to stick with its tightening policy to ensure that medium-term inflation expectations stay anchored and be pre-emptive on upward inflation risks," DBS economist Chua Han Teng said in a note to clients.
The Malaysian ringgit MYR= gained 0.3%.
"China's rapid reopening is also increasing optimism for the MYR given Malaysia's large trade position with China," Maybank analysts wrote.
The dollar index =USD lolled near an eight-month low against its peers as traders await preliminary U.S. fourth-quarter GDP figures later on Thursday as well as a slew of central bank meetings next week.
Downbeat earnings and guidance from U.S. corporates have deepened fears of an economic downturn, leading investors to pare back expectations on how much longer the Federal Reserve will need to aggressively raise interest rates.
The Singaporean dollar SGD= rose 0.1%, while Indonesia's rupiah IDR= firmed 0.1% and the Japanese yen JPY= advanced 0.4%.
Asian equities continued to rise, notching a fresh seven-month high with Hong Kong shares .HSI playing catch-up to other markets' gains as trade resumed after its three-day Lunar New Holiday.
TD Securities analyst Mitul Kotecha predicts emerging market assets will outperform in the coming months due to "cheaper valuations, softer USD, peak Fed rates pricing, lower UST yields and China reopening".
Seoul shares .KS11 climbed 1% with automakers leading the gains ahead of their earnings releases, while Jakarta .JKSE and Singapore .STI stock benchmarks rose 0.3% and 0.4% respectively.
Kuala Lumpur shares .KLSE slipped 0.2%, Thai shares .SETI fell 0.5% and Philippine shares .PSI were flat.
** South Korean consumers' inflation expectations inched up in January, with sentiment toward economic conditions and the outlook also improving
** The Philippines posted a trade deficit of $4.6 billion for December PHTBAL=ECI, the biggest trade gap in three months, government data showed on Thursday
** Indonesia's palm oil exports fell 8.5% last year because of a volatile regulatory environment and sluggish output that is expected to continue this year, the Indonesia Palm Oil Association said on Wednesday
** Singapore 5-year yields SG5YT=RR were down 2.4 bps
Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0439 GMT
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Graphic: World FX rates https://tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E
Asian stock marketshttps://tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4
Editing by Edwina Gibbs
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