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Won, ringgit lead climb in Asia as peso holds gain after debate

Monday, October 10, 2016 - 12:16
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South Korea's won led gains among Asian currencies after US data indicated the labour market is settling into a pace that will support the world's largest economy.

[SEOUL] South Korea's won led gains among Asian currencies after US data indicated the labour market is settling into a pace that will support the world's largest economy. Mexico's peso held an advance after Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton sparred in their second US presidential debate.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Currency Index rose as much as 0.2 per cent after Labor Department figures Friday showed payrolls climbed by 156,000, following a 167,000 rise in August that was more than previously estimated. Thailand's baht headed for the longest stretch of losses this year and prices for the nation's debt declined after the royal palace said the king's condition was unstable. South Africa's rand strengthened 0.5 per cent.

"Markets are off more heightened risk aversion," said Vishnu Varathan, a senior economist at Mizuho Bank Ltd in Singapore. "I do not think there is real reason to go into the rally, because despite the non-farm payroll data, I do not think it has blown the prospect of December hike out of the water either."

While the improving US outlook supported Asian assets, the increasing probability of a Federal Reserve rate hike tempered demand. The market-based odds of a December rate increase climbed to 64 per cent on Friday, from 61 per cent at the start of last week.

The won gained 0.3 per cent as of 11:14am in Singapore Monday, while the ringgit rose 0.3 per cent to halt a three drop. The Philippine peso advanced 0.1 per cent.

The baht fell 0.5 per cent. The nation's palace said Sunday doctors are closely monitoring Bhumibol Adulyadej's condition. The 88-year old monarch's health is closely watched as he is revered by many for what they say has been his unifying presence during a seven-decade reign.

Mexico's currency, considered as a barometer for currency-market views on Mr Trump's chances of becoming US president, climbed as much as 2 per cent, before paring its gain to 1.3 per cent.

He dismissed his vulgar comments captured in a 2005 video as nothing more than "locker room talk" and tried to deflect from the issue by attacking Mrs Clinton over her e-mail use and past accusations of sexual misconduct against her husband.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index of stocks rose as much as 0.2 per cent, after advancing 1.3 per cent last week. Eight of 11 industry groups gained, led by materials stocks. Samsung Electronics Co slid 3.6 per cent. The company temporarily halted production of Note 7 smartphones following customer complaints about safety issues with replacement devices thought to be safe, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

China's stocks rose, led by energy producers, as the nation's financial markets reopened after a week-long break.

A gauge of property developers tumbled after a number of cities imposed curbs to cool surging home prices, while the yuan slumped the most in three months. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.8 per cent.

BLOOMBERG

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