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Asian currencies weaken ahead of Fed rate outlook

Asian currencies slipped on Wednesday ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's expected commentary on unwinding its pandemic-era policy support, while Thailand's baht weakened on a bleak economic growth forecast for the year.

The South Korean won declined 0.6per cent to lead losses, followed by the Indonesian rupiah and the Taiwanese dollar, against a firm dollar as investors awaited clues on a rate hike outlook heading into next year.

"Markets are largely in wait-and-see mode ahead of the U.S. Fed meeting," Mizuho analysts wrote.

"The question is not so much one of tapering, which at this point seems a foregone conclusion, but more about the timing of future rate hikes," they added, as several Asian central banks still seem very far away from tightening monetary policy.

The baht fell 0.4per cent after the deputy prime minister said the country's economic growth would be subdued this year owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thailand this week re-opened its borders to fully vaccinated tourists after about 18 months of restrictions, but investors feel it is a little too early to determine its impact on the country's economy.

South Korean stocks dropped 1.2per cent, after rising the most in three weeks in its previous session.

The rupiah shed 0.2per cent as the country's economic growth is expected to have slowed significantly in the third quarter, a Reuters poll found.

Finance minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati separately told Reuters on Tuesday that they could phase out coal-fired power plants by 2040 if the world's top thermal coal exporter gets sufficient financial help from the international community.

Philippines stocks jumped 1.4per cent in a day that shares of supermarket operator AllDay Marts, owned by the country's richest man, soared by 50per cent on its market debut.

The Malaysian ringgit inched 0.1per cent lower ahead of its policy rate announcement due later in the day.

With macroeconomic policy focused on supporting economic recovery and given the low and stable core inflation, the Overnight Policy Rate was expected to stay at a current record low of 1.75per cent well into 2022, analysts at Maybank wrote in a note.

HIGHLIGHTS

** Singapore's top lenders United Overseas Bank and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp fell 1.1per cent and 0.6per cent even after posting a jump in Q3 profit

** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are down 1.6 basis points at 6.2per cent​​  

** Singapore's 10-year benchmark yield is down 1 basis points at 1.8per cent​​

(Reporting by Indranil Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

Source: Reuters

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