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Asian Currencies Rise on Ukraine Summit Prospects

  • Thai economy grows in fourth quarter
  • Malaysian shares see worst day since November
  • Taiwan shares flat ahead of industrial production data

Feb 21 (Reuters) - Asian currencies firmed on Monday, led by the South Korean won and the Indian rupee, as plans by U.S. President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to hold a summit on the Ukraine crisis boosted risk appetite.

The Philippines peso and the Singaporean dollar edged higher by nearly 0.1% each, while the Malaysian ringgit rose marginally.

The office of French President Emmanuel Macron said he had pitched to both Biden and Putin a summit over "security and strategic stability in Europe." The White House said Biden had accepted the meeting "in principle" but only "if an invasion hasn't happened."

Heightened geopolitical risks combined with rising rampant inflationary concerns have added to the pressure on Asian markets in recent weeks.

"When a diplomatic solution to Ukraine is (hopefully) eventually reached, U.S. yields should resume their upward trend and help pull the dollar higher as well," analysts from Brown Brothers Harriman said in a research note.

Analysts from Mizuho bank said elevated oil prices and a harder-to-predict U.S. Federal Reserve would mean that much of emerging Asian markets will not be able to bask in an equity market recovery and a fairly subdued dollar.

In Asia, the Indian rupee rose 0.3% to its highest since Jan. 24, while the Thai baht rose about 0.2% to hover near a five-month high on the back of a higher-than-expected economic growth during the fourth quarter. 

The South Korean won climbed about 0.3% after data showed the Asian trade bellwether's exports surged during the first 20 days of this month, driven by higher outdoor shipments of semiconductors and petroleum products.

Emerging Asian equities were under pressure, with the Philippine benchmark falling as much as 2.2% in its third consecutive session of losses.

Shares in Kuala Lumpur fell for a second straight session, shedding as much as 1.5% in what could be their worst day since November last year, while stocks in Thailand lost around 0.5%.

Taiwan stocks recovered from their earlier losses to trade flat ahead of the release of industrial production data later in the global day.

Meanwhile, Singaporean equities rose, after the city-state pegged FY2021 fiscal deficit in line with analysts' expectation, in its budget for 2022. 


** Indian shares slip over 1%, set for a fourth day of fall

** Indonesia's benchmark 10-year yield at two-week low, down to 6.494%

** Top gainers in Indonesia's benchmark include palm plantation company Gozco Plantations, up about 26.5%, and satellite television company PT MNC Sky Vision, up 25%.

Reporting by Sameer Manekar and Archishma Iyer in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

Source: Reuters

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