Investing.com-- Most Asian currencies fell on Wednesday, hit by persistent concerns over slowing economic growth and high oil prices, while the dollar surged to six-month highs before more cues on U.S. monetary policy from a string of Federal Reserve officials.
A broader risk-off sentiment also kept traders wary of regional currencies, following weak economic prints from the euro zone and the U.S., which spurred more safe haven demand for the greenback.
The dollar index and dollar index futures both fell about 0.1% in Asian trade, but were at their highest levels since mid-March. Focus is now on upcoming addresses by Fed officials this week, starting with Dallas Fed President Lorie Logan later on Wednesday.
A spike in oil prices, which hit 10-month highs, also weighed on Asian currencies, as markets feared a resurgence in inflation on higher energy costs. Several Asian countries also released hotter-than-expected inflation prints for August this week.
Chinese yuan at 10-month low on growth risks
The Chinese yuan fell 0.1% on Wednesday, crossing the 7.3 mark and hitting its weakest level to the dollar since November 2022 as markets continued to fret over a slowing economic recovery in the world’s second-largest economy.
A private survey showed on Tuesday that Chinese service sector activity grew at its slowest pace in eight months, coming under pressure from slow foreign demand, as well as weakening domestic trends.
Investors have grown increasingly impatient with Beijing’s somewhat conservative approach to rolling out more stimulus measures despite increasing headwinds to the Chinese economy. A lack of direct support for the country’s embattled property sector has also raised concerns over the scope for a near-term pick-up in economic growth.
The Australian dollar fell 0.1%, but trimmed most early losses after data showed Australia’s economy grew slightly more than expected in the second quarter, easing concerns over a recession. But the pace of growth remained largely languid.
The oil-sensitive Indian rupee rose 0.2%, but was nursing steep overnight losses. The currency was also in sight of a record low.
Japanese yen flat amid dovish BOJ, intervention watch
The yen rose 0.1% on Wednesday, recovering mildly from a 10-month low hit in the prior session. A growing rift between local and U.S. interest rates battered the yen this year, with recent comments from Bank of Japan board members suggesting that the bank is likely to maintain its ultra-dovish stance in the near-term.
But weakness in the yen saw Japanese officials once again warn markets on betting against the currency, with top currency diplomat Masato Kanda telling reporters that the government “won't rule out any options” if speculation against the yen persists.
Kanda had spearheaded government intervention in currency markets to fish the yen out of 30-year lows last year, and has repeatedly warned of similar moves this year to stem weakness in the currency.
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