Singapore Dollar Forwards Drop as Traders See MAS Policy on Hold
(Bloomberg) -- The currency market has shifted to signal expectations the Monetary Authority of Singapore will refrain from easing next month, with a measure of the local dollar’s potential direction sliding to a four-year low.
Six-month forwards tumbled to minus 15.64 points on Thursday, the least since July 2012, data compiled by Bloomberg. The rate touched 32.23 points on June 28, days after the U.K. vote to exit the European Union caused a global financial rout. Futures contracts show the likelihood for the U.S. Federal Reserve to raise interest rates at the Sept. 20-21 meeting has gone down to 22 percent after recent disappointing U.S. economic data.
“The market is not looking at Singapore dollar depreciation at this point because of what’s happening in the U.S.,” said Irene Cheung, a foreign-exchange strategist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. in Singapore. “Singapore has weak fundamentals but we don’t really see it deteriorating. We are not going into a recession.”
The MAS’s trade-weighted measure of the currency has fallen to the least in almost three months as of Aug. 26, retreating from a record set on Aug. 5. The authority, which guides the local dollar against an undisclosed basket of Singapore’s trade partners and competitors, surprised the markets in April by moving to a neutral policy of zero percent appreciation.
Singapore dollar six-month forward points -- which are tied to interest-rate differentials -- had been above zero since November 2014 as the Federal Reserve was seen moving toward tighter monetary policy.
Ravi Menon, managing director of MAS, said Tuesday the current policy stance remains appropriate. Singapore’s gross domestic product expanded an annualized 0.3 percent last quarter from the previous three months, after a 0.1 percent increase in the first quarter. Economists predict a full-year growth rate of 1.8 percent, which would be the slowest pace since 2009, according to a Bloomberg survey.