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ANZ analysts point out that the Asian currencies were hit by escalating US-China trade tensions and a sharp slowdown in economic activity in 2019, but the outlook for 2020 looks more promising, as the headwinds fade.

Key Quotes

“While there will be underlying tensions between the US and China even if the ‘phase one’ deal is eventually signed, we are unlikely to see the sudden unexpected tariff escalations that roiled markets earlier this year.”

“The current recovery in the global tech cycle points to an improvement in the region’s exports over the first half of 2020. The substantial monetary policy easing by the region’s central banks this year should also help support growth next year.”

“We forecast a modest weakening in CNY to 7.15 by the end of 2020, as the Chinese economy continues to slow, the current account surplus narrows and onshore demand for dollars stays strong for debt repayment.”

“We are most constructive on THB, TWD, and PHP. We see IDR remaining an attractive carry play given its high yield and stable macroeconomic fundamentals, while INR will underperform given the weak growth outlook and the RBI’s preference for a competitive exchange rate.”

“SGD and KRW should benefit from the turn in the tech cycle, but weakness in their domestic economies will limit how far both currencies can gain. Persistent trade surpluses and strong FDI inflows will support the VND.”