Asian currencies hit multi-year lows as dollar buoyed by safe-haven demand



*

Malaysia's rinngit hits over 24-year low

*

Indian rupee touches record low

*

Thai baht at 16-yr low

By Upasana Singh

Sept 26 (Reuters) -

Emerging Asian currencies hit new multi-year lows on Monday, as the dollar rose on rampant demand for the safe-haven currency and after the U.S. Federal Reserve signalled more rate hikes last week.

Malaysia's ringgit MYR= hit its lowest level in over 20 years, Thailand's baht THB=TH touched its lowest in over 16 years, while India's rupee INR=IN hit a record low.

A searing drop in

the British pound

, on concerns about the new government's

economic plan

, helped the safe-haven U.S. dollar to a new two-decade peak against a basket of major peers.

The ringgit MYR= weakened 0.4% to 4.5960 per dollar, its lowest since January 1998. It has fallen more than 9% so far this year, and is among the worst performing currencies in the region.

Last week, Bank Negara Malaysia said it will not resort to capital controls or re-pegging the currency, adding that the policy priority is to sustain economic growth.

"The toxic combination of tighter financial conditions, persisting USD strength, global growth concerns driven by slowdown in China and Europe, and sustained weakening in RMB past 7 per dollar sets up a challenging stage for pro-cyclical Asian FX," said Christopher Wong, FX Strategist at OCBC.

The dollar index =USD , which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, rose 0.7% to 113.92 and earlier reached 114.58 for the first time since May 2002. It is up about 20% so far this year.

An invigorated dollar has been exerting pressure on regional currencies as investors wager the Fed will push on with large rate hikes to squash runaway inflation.

The Fed last week hiked interest rates by 75 basis points for a third straight time and signalled that borrowing costs would keep rising this year.

Among other currencies, India's rupee INR=IN fell 0.6% and hit a record low. Thailand's baht THB=TH touched a more than 16-year low, easing 0.6%.

Bank of Thailand is expected to deliver another 25 basis-point hike on Wednesday, its second in a row, despite many of its peers opting for larger increases to fight high inflation, a Reuters poll showed.

Singapore's dollar SGD= and Indonesia's rupiah IDR= fell 0.3% and 0.6%, respectively. Both currencies hit their weakest since April 2020. South Korea's won KRW=KFTC dropped 1.4% to hit an over 13-year low.

Meanwhile, the People's Bank of China announced steps to slow the pace of the yuan's recent depreciation by making it more expensive to bet against the currency.

The yuan CNY=CFXS , which has fallen 11.2% so far this year, shed 0.5% to its lowest since late-May 2020.

"Market volatility remains elevated and we do not rule out further responses from regional policymakers to calm sentiments," Wong added.

Stocks in the region were broadly lower, with equities in Seoul .KS11 and Taipei .TWII leading the way as they dropped 2.7% and 2.1%, respectively.

Singapore's benchmark index .STI shed 1%, while stocks in Jakarta .JKSE retreated 1.1%.

HIGHLIGHTS:

** Japan warns against speculative yen moves, markets wary of further intervention

** Technology giant Samsung Electronics 005930.KS , SK Hynix 000660.KS and LG Energy Solution 373220.KS among top losers on South Korea's benchmark index .KS11

** BOK chief says U.S.-S.Korea currency swap would be 'good to have'

The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0402 GMT. COUNTRY FX RIC FX

FX YTD % INDEX STOCKS STOCKS

DAILY

DAILY YTD %

%

%

Japan

JPY=

-0.53 -20.13

<.N22 -2.45 -7.98

5>

China

<CNY=CF -0.48 -11.30

<.SSE -0.08 -15.22

XS>

C>

India

<INR=IN -0.63 -8.80

<.NSE -1.26 -1.41

>

I>

Indonesi IDR=

-0.56 -5.75

<.JKS -1.13 7.84 a

E>

Malaysia MYR=

-0.41 -9.40

<.KLS -0.31 -9.37

E>

Philippi PHP=

-0.52 -13.65

<.PSI -0.67 -12.12 nes

>

S.Korea <KRW=KF -1.42 -16.84

<.KS1 -2.74 -25.20

TC>

1>

Singapor SGD=

-0.30 -6.00

<.STI -1.04 2.23 e

>

Taiwan

<TWD=TP -0.65 -13.12

<.TWI -2.08 -24.12

>

I>

Thailand <THB=TH -0.57 -11.64

<.SET -0.66 -2.21

>

I>


Reporting by Upasana Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa

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