Each week, we provide an overview of the percent returns of the primary indices in Southeast Asia and their currency appreciation or depreciation relative to the US Dollar. We provide this information below. We also capture this information, as well as the trailing four and year-to-date movements, and plot the data in charts, which you can find on the “index charts” and “currency charts” pages.
During the week of 16 October, four of the ten indices in Southeast Asia advanced, with the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX) index gaining the most, rising 0.89%. Myanmar’s Myanpix index and the Lao Securities Exchange index had the greatest declines over the week, falling 1.62% and 3.31%, respectively.
In Myanmar, businesses warned that the labor ministry’s proposed increase in minimum wages would lead to closures, according to The Myanmar Times, and the European Union threatened to enact an economic embargo, and possibly other sanctions, if Myanmar does not address humanitarian concerns in Rakhine state, according to The Myanmar Times.
Singapore’s Straits Times Index gained 0.65%—bringing its trailing four week increase to 3.74%, which is the best of the ten indices—despite the country reporting significantly weaker export figures for September when compared to previous months, which led economists to question whether the economy was slowing down. Non-oil domestic exports fell 1.1% year-over-year against forecasts of 12.7% growth, and non-electronic exports rose by 1.9% against growth of 15% in August, according to The Straits Times.
Separately, The Straits Times reported on Wednesday that the Nasdaq and Singapore Exchange (SGX) have signed an agreement that eventually could allow companies to list on both bourses at the same time. For more information on the SGX’s attempt to make the exchange more appealing to local and foreign firms, please read “Increase in Number of Watchlisted Companies on Singapore Exchange Highlights Broader Concerns.”
- Cambodia Securities Exchange index (CSX), 0.89%
- Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange Index (VNI), 0.72%
- Singapore’s Straits Times Index (STI), 0.65%
- Jakarta Stock Exchange index (JSX), 0.09%
- Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi), -0.32%
- Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI), -0.84%
- Hanoi Stock Exchange Index (HNX), -0.89%
- Stock Exchange of Thailand index (SET), -1.16%
- Myanmar’s Myanpix index (YSX), -1.62%
- Lao Securities Exchange index (LSX), -3.31%
Two of the nine Southeast Asian currencies advanced relative to the US Dollar the week of 16 October, with the Cambodian Riel (KHR) appreciating the most, rising 0.22%. According to the Phnom Penh Post, interest rates for microfinance loans issued in KHR have decline to the same levels as those issued in USD, which could lead to an increase in circulation of Riel vis-à-vis the Dollar. If so, this would be consistent with the government’s intent as of late July for consumers to increase use of the Riel, according to The Phnom Penh Post, which should lead to an appreciation in the currency relative to the Dollar.
Thailand is at risk of meeting the US Treasury’s definition of currency manipulation, according to The Bangkok Post, despite the Thai Baht’s year-to-date rise of 8.01% relative to the Dollar, which is the greatest appreciation of the nine Southeast Asian currencies. The Bank of Thailand—which Thailand’s Finance Ministry has criticized for not doing enough to stem the Baht’s appreciation—strongly rejected any assertions of currency manipulation, which are based on the following criteria:
Figure 1.1: Benchmarks for US Treasury-designation as currency manipulator and Thailand’s current position
Source: The Bangkok Post
- Cambodian Riel (KHR), 0.22%
- Vietnamese Dong (VND), 0.01%
- Malaysian Ringgit (MYR), -0.07%
- Lao Kip (LAK), -0.11%
- Indonesian Rupiah (IDR), -0.14%
- Thai Baht (THB), -0.40%
- Philippine Peso (PHP), -0.71%
- Myanmar Kyat (MMK), -0.77%
- Singapore Dollar (SGD), -0.98%