By Harshita Swaminathan
Dec 22 (Reuters) – Most Asian currencies and equities were firmer on Thursday, with the mood buoyed by a rebound in US consumer confidence and as markets awaited a likely rate hike from Bank Indonesia.
The South Korean won KRW=KFTC rose 0.7% to trade at 1,277 to the dollar, its strongest since June, while the Singapore dollar SGD= strengthened 0.3%.
Data from the United States showed December consumer confidence at an eight-month highrebounding more than expected, as inflation pulled back and the labor market remained strong.
Wall Street indexes logged their biggest daily gains so far this month on Wednesday, further helped by positive earnings reports. .N
However, the US data also showed fewer households planning to make big-ticket purchases over the next six months, indicating fears of a recession had not evaporated.
“For now, a low-volume environment and limited catalysts may help to provide a temporary breather for the risk environment,” said Yeap Jun Rong, a market analyst at IG.
The positive data also put pressure on the US currency, with the dollar index =USD last seen around 103.94, 0.3% lower, which also helped Asian currencies.
Indonesia’s rupiah IDR= was steady at 15.587 per dollar, ahead of the central bank’s policy decision later in the day.
Bank Indonesia is expected to deliver a 25 basis point (bps) hike to the 7-day reverse repo rate, after three consecutive 50 basis point hikes, a Reuters poll shown.
“Not only must Bank Indonesia remain vigilant to still sticky underlying inflation…macro-stability risks from hawkish Fed jolts remain a non-negligible risk and Bank Indonesia’s biggest bugbear” Varathan said.
The Indonesian benchmark yield ID10YT=RR eased and was last seen at 6,920%, 0.9 bps lower. Malaysian MY10YT=RR and Philippine yields PH10YT=RR were unchanged at 4.052% and 6.942%, respectively.
Indonesian stocks .JKSE also fell 0.2%, while nearly all other equity markets in the region trended higher.
Taiwan equities .TWII gained the most, rising 1.2% led by semiconductor stocks, while South Korea’s stocks .KS11 were 0.7% higher. Philippines .PSI and Singapore stocks .PATH also gained 0.9% and 0.6%, respectively.
** India’s govt expected to focus on fiscal consolidation in upcoming national budget, slowing growth to limit spending, finds Reuters poll
** Thailand 2-year bond auction fetches average accepted yield of 1.26533%
** Taiwan stock index pulled up by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing 2330.TW up 1.9%, MediaTek 2454.TW up 1.5%
Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0317 GMT
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Graphic: World FX rates https://tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E
Asian stock marketshttps://tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4
(Reporting by Harshita Swaminathan; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)
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