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Most Asian Bonds See Foreign Inflows in Jan on Hopes of Rate-Hike Pause

Feb 16 (Reuters) - Most Asian bonds witnessed foreign inflows in January, driven by hopes that the U.S. Federal Reserve would slow down the pace of its monetary tightening as inflation worries subsided.

Foreigners purchased a combined net total of $4.3 billion in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thai and Indian bonds, data from regulatory authorities and bond market associations showed.

Asian currencies posted solid gains against the dollar last month, supported by upbeat demand for regional bonds.

Indonesian bonds received about $3.3 billion, the biggest since 2010.

On the other hand, South Korean bonds witnessed outflows worth $5.33 billion, the biggest since at least 2009.

Analysts said outflows from South Korean bonds were partly due to the concerns about liquidity woes at state-owned electricity company Korea Electric Power Corp.

The dollar, however, has strengthened so far this month as recent economic data such as consumer prices, hiring and retail sales showed a higher reading, prompting worries that the U.S. Fed still has further to go in tightening rates.

"Although the U.S. Fed has acknowledged that inflation is falling, the very strong labour market could still prompt the FOMC to raise rates higher than what has been priced in," said Khoon Goh, head of Asia Research at ANZ.

"If inflation does not recede as expected, the possibility of a Fed over-tightening will be negative for fund flows into Asia."

Reporting By Patturaja Murugaboopathy and Gaurav Dogra in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

Source: Reuters

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