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Currency News

Indonesian rupiah rises on improved appetite for risk

The Indonesian rupiah rose Tuesday on renewed risk appetite as speculation strengthened that the U.S, Federal Reserve would delay raising rates following disappointing U.S. economic data.

The unit rose 1.8 percent to 14,233 per U.S. dollar after gaining as much as 2.2 percent earlier.

Expectations of continued U.S. monetary easing, at least for now, were seen as bringing investors back to selected emerging markets.

"Prospects for emerging-market assets are positive now. Currencies have bottomed out and it would be good for equities," Ang Kok Heng, chief investment officer at Phillip Capital Management Bhd., told Bloomberg News.

Against the U.S. dollar, the South Korean won firmed 0.52 percent from Monday afternoon while the Singapore dollar fell by 0.38 percent. The Indian rupee was nearly flat, while the Thai baht edged down 0.22 percent.

The U.S. dollar held its ground against major currencies, buying 120.45 yen in Tokyo — little changed from 120.46 yen in New York overnight.

The euro stood at US$1.1182 and 134.71 yen compared with US$1.1187 and 134.77 yen in New York.

Poor U.S. jobs data released on Friday has persuaded many Fed watchers that the U.S. central bank will delay a plan to lift interest rates this year.

The view has improved investors' appetite for risk, boosting international equities and the greenback while keeping the yen under pressure.

"The way the market is looking at the (U.S.) payrolls numbers is weak enough to diminish the case for higher U.S. rates, but not weak enough to point to a materially weaker economy," Adam Cole, London-based head of global foreign-exchange strategy at Royal Bank of Canada, told Bloomberg News.

"They're positive for risk appetite."

While selected emerging-market currencies rose, market optimism weighed on the yen, seen as a low-yielding "safe haven" unit to be favored during times of financial uncertainty.

The Japanese currency was tipped to ease further on the prospect that the Bank of Japan, which began a two-day meeting Tuesday, could offer further easing measures later this year.

"As Fed rate hike expectations are pushed back, stocks and commodities saw a big rebound and eased risk aversion," Etsuko Yamashita, chief economist at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp, told Bloomberg News. That's laying the groundwork to make it easier for the yen to weaken," she added.

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