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Long ringgit bets highest since 2014, Asia FX view improves
[SINGAPORE] Bullish bets on the Malaysian ringgit hit their highest level since August 2014, as higher oil prices and expectations that the US Federal Reserve would be in no hurry to raise interest rates gave a boost to Asian currencies, a Reuters poll showed.
Sentiment toward Asian currencies was generally better than two weeks ago, according to a survey of 18 fund managers, currency traders and analysts conducted from Tuesday through Thursday.
Bets on the Malaysian ringgit turned bullish for the first time since April last year, and long positions in the currency rose to their highest level since August 2014, the Reuters poll showed.
Bets also turned bullish in the Philippine peso, Thai baht and South Korean won.
Bullish bets in the baht rose to the highest since April 2015. The baht has climbed recently amid signs of foreign investor inflows into Thailand's bond market.
Sentiment toward the won was also the most bullish since last April. The won had gained a lift last week after South Korea's central bank kept interest rates unchanged and its chief suggested he was not ready to ease policy soon.
Long positions in the Philippine peso rose to the highest since August 2014.
Bullish bets in the Indonesian rupiah increased slightly, and reached their highest level since May 2014.
Sentiment toward the Singapore dollar turned slightly bullish, the best it has registered since last May.
The poll suggested that investors held slight short positions in the Chinese yuan, Taiwan dollar and Indian rupee.
Bearish bets in the Chinese yuan fell to the lowest level since October 2015. Bearish bets in the Taiwan dollar were the smallest since last May.
Asian currencies have climbed against the dollar this month, as an improvement in US economic data and a recovery in global oil prices bolstered risk sentiment.
They gained added steam after the US Federal Reserve held interest rates steady on Wednesday, and fresh projections by Fed policymakers showed they now expect two quarter-point interest rate hikes by year-end, half the number seen in December.
The poll is focused on what analysts and fund managers believe are the current market positions in nine Asian emerging market currencies: the Chinese yuan, South Korean won , Singapore dollar, Indonesian rupiah, Taiwan dollar, Indian rupee, Philippine peso, Malaysian ringgit and the Thai baht.
The poll uses estimates of net long or short positions on a scale of minus 3 to plus 3. A score of plus 3 indicates the market is significantly long US dollars.
The figures include positions held through non-deliverable forwards (NDFs).