By Kenan Machado and I-Made Sentana
Broad-based strength in the U.S. dollar weighed on Asian currencies Friday, with at least one central bank intervening to defend the local unit, adding to concerns on how a Donald Trump's presidency may impact the region.
The dollar gained 0.7% against the Malaysian ringgit in early Asian trade Friday but later lost ground. The dollar was last up 0.1% against the ringgit in early afternoon trade.
Meanwhile, the dollar rose 3.1% against the Indonesian rupiah in early trade. This was despite Bank Indonesia, the nation's central bank, selling U.S. dollars to defend the rupiah for the first time in nearly 11 months. The dollar was last trading nearly1% stronger to the rupiah.
"The market trend is for the dollar to strengthen no matter what," said Edison Pun, a senior account manager at Hong Kong-based futures broker Admis.
Dealers in Indonesia say that investors are trimming their holdings of rupiah-denominated assets, having done so for other Asian assets, moving to U.S. Treasurys, among other assets.
The Indonesian rupiah is prone to sharp declines because foreigners hold nearly 40% of the government's domestic bonds, one of the highest proportions in Asia.
There is some expectation in the U.S. that the nation's economy will improve further under Mr. Trump, who will likely raise tariffs on imports from abroad. That has helped boost the dollar.
"The market seems quite confident and comfortable with Trump as (U.S.) president," said Mr. Pun.
Also, worries that jobs, particularly in manufacturing, will return to the U.S. from emerging markets in Asia are also weighing on currencies in the region, Mr. Pun said.
Expectations have also risen for a rapid increase in interest rates in the U.S., lifting dollar demand.
"Trump's potential fiscal stimulus measures will give rise to inflation, allowing the [Federal Reserve] to move faster towards raising rates," said Gao Qi, a foreign-exchange strategist for emerging markets in Asia at Scotiabank.
On the other hand, decreased risk appetite is boosting demand for haven currencies such as the yen, which was last up 0.3% against the U.S. dollar.
Among other currencies, the dollar rose 0.4% against the Thai baht in early Asian trade, but the dollar-baht pair was last down 0.2% at 35.23.
In China, the central bank earlier Friday fixed the yuan at a fresh six-year low of 6.8115 against the U.S. dollar, fueled by the greenback's strength. The dollar was last up 0.2% against the yuan at 6.8100.
Weaker crude oil prices also weighed on currencies in Malaysia, Asia'sbiggest exporter of oil, and Indonesia, whose palm oil industry plays a huge part in the local economy.
Though Indonesia is a net importer of crude, lower crude prices hurt refining margins of local oil retailers. Brent crude, the international benchmark, was down 0.4% at $45.67 a barrel.
--Kosaku Narioka contributed to this article.
Write to Kenan Machado at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 11, 2016 01:29 ET (06:29 GMT)
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