Asian FX post strong finish

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    Asian currencies rose on Friday and ended July with their best performance in months as the dollar tumbled on worries a US economic recovery was set to be derailed by a second wave of coronavirus outbreaks.

    Several Asian markets were closed for the Eid al-Adha public holiday although the currencies of South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and China, which were open, were all firmer.

    Despite a continued surge in coronavirus infections in India, the rupee is also poised to end July with a near 1 percent gain – its best monthly performance in over a year.

    The Singapore dollar has advanced about 1.7 percent across the month, narrowly beating gains from last December and putting it on track for its best showing since January 2018.

    “In the near term, the huge wave of global central bank liquidity and an ample supply of dollars in the global financial system will mean that short of a huge growth shock, the dollar looks cyclically vulnerable,” analysts at ANZ wrote in a note on Thursday.

    “A higher liquidity world should favor… Asian currencies, and this is where we think the next leg of dollar weakness may show itself.”

    The surge in coronavirus cases in a number of US states in the past fortnight has hurt global appetite for risk while also weakening the greenback’s traditional appeal as a safe haven at times of stress, putting the dollar index on course for its biggest monthly fall in 10 years.

    Taiwan’s dollar and the South Korean won, both heavy exporters and centres for tech that are expected to benefit more than some economies from post-pandemic reality, have been among the bigger gainers.

    The Taiwan currency and the Thai baht both racked up gains of 0.7 percent on Friday, while the won hit a four-month peak.

    Asian equities were largely subdued after a wobbly session on Wall Street, as a coronavirus aid bill for jobless Americans remained stalled in the US Congress and data showed claims for unemployment benefits continued to accelerate.

    Chinese stocks were the sole gainers after data showed China’s factories stepped up activity in July for a fifth straight month as improving prospects for electrical and pharmaceutical goods helped sustain a broader recovery.

    The yuan jumped 0.4 percent and was on track for its best month since October.

    Investors will look to July export data next week from China, South Korea and Taiwan to gauge the state of global demand. Manufacturing prints from a slew of countries are also expected. – Reuters