Asian currencies plumb multi-year lows as safe-haven demand lifts dollar
Equities in Southeast Asia broadly decline
Philippine peso, Indian rupee hit record low
Malaysia's ringgit at over 24-yr low
Thai baht touches its lowest in over 16 yrs
By Upasana Singh
Sept 26 (Reuters) - Asian currencies and stocks fell on Monday, with most currencies hitting multi-year lows against the dollar, as the U.S. Federal Reserve's hawkish monetary policy stance stoked economic slowdown fears and raised the greenback's safe-haven appeal.
The Philippine peso PHP= and the Indian rupee INR=IN hit record lows of 59.07 and 81.5775 per dollar, respectively.
Traders in India said the Reserve Bank of India might likely have sold dollars to contain the currency's decline, which has been touching fresh lows for the last three consecutive sessions.
Malaysia's ringgit MYR= fell 0.4% to 4.5960 per dollar, its lowest since January 23, 1998, while the Thai baht THB=TH hit a more than 16-year low and weakened 0.8%.
Singapore's dollar SGD= and Indonesia's rupiah IDR= fell 0.3% and 0.6%, respectively. Both currencies hit their weakest since April 2020.
"The ... 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.
Risk sentiment was dented as the dollar index =USD , which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, rose 0.2% at 113.38, following the British pound's searing drop on concerns about the new government's economic plan.
The dollar, which had earlier reached 114.58 for the first time since May 2002 and was up about 20% so far this year, is also being strengthened on the back of a hawkish Fed and its "higher for longer" stance on policy tightening.
"The combination of high U.S. yields (nominal and real), weakening global growth and fragile risk appetite augur well for the USD," Paul Mackel, global head of FX Research at HSBC Bank said.
"For the USD to shift into a slower path or potentially reverse, then these drivers need to change direction, or at least lose meaningful momentum."
The Bank of Thailand is expected to deliver another 25 basis-point rate hike on Wednesday, its second in a row, even as many of its peers opt for larger increases to fight high inflation, a Reuters poll showed.
China's central bank announced fresh 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 fell 0.5%, its lowest since May 2020, while stocks in Shanghai .SSEC shed 1%.
Equities in the region were broadly lower, with stocks in Seoul .KS11 and Taipei .TWII leading losses as they dropped 3% and 2.4%, respectively.
India's benchmark index .NSEI declined 1.7%, while equities in Jakarta .JKSE and Singapore .STI retreated 1.3% and 1.5%, respectively.
** Thai economic conditions improving but recovery uneven - c.bank chief
** Japan warns against speculative yen moves, markets wary of further intervention
** 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 0642 GMT. COUNTRY FX RIC
FX INDE STOCKS STOCKS
DAILY % YTD %
X DAILY YTD %
-0.45 -20.0 <.N2 -2.66 -7.98
-0.51 -11.3 <.SS -1.01 -16.01
-0.77 -8.93 <.NS -1.71 -1.86
-0.56 -5.75 <.JK -1.29
-0.44 -9.42 <.KL -0.37 -9.43
-0.44 -13.5 <.PS -0.67 -12.12 nes
-1.54 -16.9 <.KS -3.02 -25.41
-0.29 -5.99 <.ST -1.48
-0.60 -13.0 <.TW -2.41 -24.37
-0.77 -11.8 <.SE -0.90 -2.45
Reporting by Upasana Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich
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