Weakness seen for S'pore dollar amid US-China trade war

20th May, 2019 10:31:01 printer

Singapore: The Singapore dollar is poised to weaken further as the escalating trade war between the world's two largest economies weighs down growth in the export-dependent city-state.

Poor export data that landed on Friday underscore the downward pressure on the currency's nominal effective exchange rate, which has quietly crept away from the upper end of the band that monetary policy makers use to keep Singapore on an even keel, report agencies.

With no deal in sight between the US and China, revised gross domestic product figures due on Tuesday are the next thing to watch for clues on the trajectory of the Singapore dollar, which has slipped about one per cent this month.

"Given the small size of the Singapore economy and the subdued outlook in the electronic sector, risk is for more weak economic data to come," said Frances Cheung, head of Asia macro strategy at Westpac Banking Corp. "Potentially weak data may push MAS expectations toward a more dovish side."

Larger declines in other Asian currencies caught in the crossfire between China and the US has deflected attention from the simmering signs of weakness in the Singapore dollar. A closer look shows that six-month forward discounts on the greenback against the currency narrowed to the tightest level in 16 months recently.

The Singapore dollar fell 0.2 per cent against to trade at S$1.3749 per US dollar as at 3.58pm local time on Friday.

The International Monetary Fund warns that the risks to the economy are tilted to the downside and that the Monetary Authority of Singapore's response to the challenge should be "data dependent".