By Anushka Trivedi
Oct 29 (Reuters) – The Malaysian ringgit firmed to its highest in more than a month on Friday, boosted by hopes that the government would release an expansionary fiscal 2022 budget later in the day, while Asian stocks were mostly weak, with Philippine shares down 1%.
The Thai baht THB=TH led gains, advancing 0.4%, while the Singapore dollar SGD=, the Philippine peso PHP= and the Indonesian rupiah IDR= traded flat to higher against a wavering greenback.
The ringgit MYR=MY gained 0.2% as investors awaited the 2022 budget. The finance ministry said in August it expected its fiscal deficit to widen this year due to continued spending required to support the gradual reopening of the economy.
“Malaysia’s revenue base will get a boost from the recent boom in commodity, in particular crude oil and palm oil prices. ..it will create much needed fiscal space to allow for additional expenditures in handling the pandemic,” Mizuho analysts said in a note.
Even if there is knee-jerk depreciation in the ringgit following the budget, it’s unlikely to be sustained as the broader pro-growth fiscal stance is supportive, they added.
Malaysia’s economy suffered from harsh COVID-19 lockdowns earlier this year, but buoyant exports and rising vaccinations have propped the recovery. The country has the second-highest vaccination rate in Southeast Asia after Singapore.
Kuala Lumpur stocks .KLSE, however, fell slightly.
Asian shares declined, tracking U.S. stock futures ESc1, which shed 0.4% after earnings at tech majors Apple AAPL.O and Amazon AMZN.O missed forecasts on supply chain and chip shortage woes.
Philippine stocks .PSI shed 1.4%, on track for their worst day in a month, and led losses in the region, while equities in South Korea .KS11 and Taiwan .TWII fell.
Asia’s biggest fast-food chain Jollibee Foods Corp JFC.PS was among top drags on the Manila index, after it announced a joint venture with Japan’s Yoshinoya Holdings 9861.T to open 50 stores in the Philippines.
Jollibee’s previous deals have not been wildly popular with investors after acquisitions of a burger and a coffee chain weighed on the company’s balance sheet for years.
** Malaysia’s 3-year benchmark yield is up 3.9 basis points at 2.678%
** Singapore’s 10-year benchmark yield is up 4 basis points at 1.823%
** Top gainers on the Singapore STI .STI include Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd JARD.SI up 2% and Hongkong Land Holdings Ltd HKLD.SI up 1.5%
Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0724 GMT
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Graphic: World FX rates https://tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E
Asian stock marketshttps://tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4
(Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.