Asian FX – Breakout on global politics?

Another week, another one finding the currency market sliding under the influence of politics as monetary policy broadly took a backseat against the wider theme of political and geopolitical tensions.

Chinese Yuan
Source: Bloomberg

It certainly does look like a tale of two scenarios in Asia, but against the US dollar, the likes of SGD, MYR and CNH looks captured in this wider downtrend that has recently met its match. Locking these USD/Asian pairs in gridlock had been the bout of uncertainties over trade tensions. It appears difficult not to hear from either the US or China with regards to the development over trade differences these days.

While risk sentiment have gradually abated from last week following conciliatory remarks from leaders in both China and US, fresh comments from President Donald Trump have left their mark in the currency market this week. The President took to twitter to accuse both China and Russia for ‘playing the Currency Devaluation game’ sending the greenback moderately softer on Monday. Certainly, this had not been the first time we have heard the President’s thoughts on the matter, though it remain a jarring difference from his treasury department’s recent report that recognised no currency manipulators amongst major trading partners.

One would suspect that we may not be hearing the end of the latest trade tensions yet, as the US President’s latest words added fuel to fire. Although it had been heartening to see China’s lack of retaliation fixing onshore USD/CNY at the lowest level in two weeks while voicing their dissent. This is also set against the backdrop of works towards further financial reforms. The key question remains, in which direction we would find markets moving with all the factors on the table to consider. USD/CNH does serve as a poignant example capturing the political influences. On one hand, China’s apparent tolerance keeps the bias on the downside though the short-term US dollar bullish bias may work against further declines. Watch the breakout on either ends with key support at $6.2575. 

Source: IG

Following last week’s Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) meeting, where we saw the central bank restoring the gradual positive slope for the Nominal Effective Exchange Rate, the means by which they control monetary policy, a lack of follow through in USD/SGD movements had been the case. The central bank had been apparent in keeping the language to a ‘measured’ one, which prompt us not to rule out the possibility for further tightening down the road. For the time being, politics has its influence on the USD/SGD as well as we watch any imminent break here. 

Source: IG

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USD/CNH
Source: IG

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USD/SGD
Source: IG

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