EMERGING MARKETS-Asia FX firm on hopes of low U.S. rates; Indonesia rupiah strong
By Rashmi Ashok
May 10 (Reuters) - Asian currencies rose against the U.S. dollar on Monday, with the Indonesian rupiah leading gains, as weaker than expected U.S. jobs data pushed the greenback lower on expectations that interest rates would remain low for longer.
Data released on Friday showed U.S. job growth in April missed expectations by a large margin, quelling worries that a pick up in consumer prices could force the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates earlier than it has outlined. Higher rates typically boost the dollar by attracting savers. nL1N2MT2XD
The Indonesian rupiah IDR=ID rose 0.8% to 14,160 against the dollar and was on track for its best session since Jan. 4, as the country's recent economic output data indicated an economic recovery was likely, and foreign investors returned to its high-yielding debt.
"Tentative signs of recovery in portfolio flows are setting in, supporting the recent USD-IDR dip. Month to date inflows into equities and sovereigns are at $71.4 million as of May 7, and $100.6 million as of May 6, respectively," analysts at Maybank wrote.
Outflows, dividend repatriation pressure and concerns about Bank Indonesia's autonomy had seen the rupiah slump this year, but it recently found favour among yield-seekers as the Federal Reserve asserted a dovish stance.
Benchmark 10-year bond yields in Indonesia ID10YT=RR fell nearly 5 basis points to 6.394% as investor demand rose, with yields standing at their lowest since Feb. 18.
China's onshore yuan CNY=CFXS strengthened past 6.43 per dollar for the first time since Feb. 10, building on Friday's gains that came after robust trade data for April showed exports beating forecasts. nL1N2MS035
The Taiwan dollar TWD=TP rose 0.6% to 27.74 per dollar, its highest since May 20, 1997, taking support from data released late on Friday that showed its April exports jumped 38.7%, smashing expectations of a 26.9% rise in a Reuters poll.
The island's exports have been surging in recent months, as demand for microchips and gadgets remained strong in the work-from-home COVID-19 pandemic boom, with officials expecting that cumulative second-quarter exports could exceed $100 billion. nL4N2MN03C
Philippine's peso PHP= traded marginally lower ahead of gross domestic product (GDP) data expected on Tuesday.
Analysts at Mizuho expect the country to post a contraction in GDP to -3.5% in the first quarter, as a lockdown in capital city Manila in late March and a slow vaccine drive hinder early signs of recovery.
Equities rose broadly in the region, with South Korean stocks .KS11 adding 1.4% and Indonesian stocks .JKSE up 0.6%.
** In the Philippines, top index gainers are Robinsons Land Corp RLC.PS, up 4.61%, and International Container Terminal Services Inc ICT.PS, up 3.55%
** Top gainers on Thailand's SETI .SETI include Castle Peak Holdings PCL CPH.BK, up 21.46%, and Kulthorn Kirby PCL KKC.BK, up 17.07%
** Malaysian ringgit strengthened 0.17% against the dollar to 4.1 ringgit
Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0342 GMT
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(Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)
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