Asian currencies subdued ahead of Fed, rupiah stumbles
Indonesia's rupiah leads declines among Asian currencies
Thai baht set to gain 5.6% this month
Stocks in Manila slip 2.8%
By Upasana Singh
Jan 31 (Reuters) -Most emerging Asian currencies traded narrowly on Tuesday, with the Indonesian rupiah hitting a one-week low as investors wait to see if the Federal Reserve will slow the pace of rate hikes as inflation and the economy show signs of losing momentum.
The rupiah IDR= fell 0.2% and Malaysia's ringgit MYR= eased 0.1%, while Thailand's baht THB=TH was flat.
"The market is generally cautious ahead of the major macro events, namely the Federal Open Market Committee meeting, the European Central Bank meeting and the U.S. payrolls data," said Alvin Tan, head of Asia FX strategy at RBC Capital Markets.
The Fed is widely-expected to raise interest rates by 25 basis points (bps) on Wednesday - the smallest since the central bank kicked off its tightening cycle 10 months ago with one the same size. Analysts expect two more quarter-percentage point hikes by mid-2023.
"I expect the Fed to reiterate the message that it is not looking to cut rates this year, contrary to market expectations. Nonetheless, the market is warming up to the idea that the Fed will pause soon," said Tan, adding that risk sentiment is likely to stay supported in coming weeks.
The Philippine peso PHP= was flat, while stocks in Manila .PSI slumped 2.8% and were set to mark their worst day since Dec. 2 last year.
Inflation in the archipelago was likely to be within a range of 7.5% to 8.3% in January after it hit a 14-year high in December.
India's rupee INR=IN fell 0.2%. Stocks in Mumbai .NSEI advanced 0.1%, with investors keeping an eye on the final day of Adani Enterprises' mega secondary share sale and the federal budget scheduled for Wednesday.
In other news, data showed China's economic activity swung back to growth in January after a wave of COVID-19 infections passed through the country faster than expected following Beijing's sudden U-turn on pandemic controls.
Equities across Southeast Asia were on the back foot, with stocks in Kuala Lumpur .KLSE declining 0.8% and Thailand's benchmark index .SETI shedding 0.3%.
Stocks in Jakarta .JKSE fell 0.6%. South Korea's benchmark index .KS11, which has gained 9% this month, dipped 0.6%.
** China's troubled property sector will continue to weigh on growth and will not be an engine of growth until there is some "cleaning up" of the market, according to the International Monetary Fund's chief economist
** Japanese makers of semiconductor manufacturing machinery and materials used to make chips said on Monday they had yet to hear from Japan's government about export restrictions
The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0402 GMT.
FX DAILY %
FX YTD %
STOCKS DAILY %
STOCKS YTD %
Reporting by Upasana Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Jacqueline Wong
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