(Reuters) - Analysts maintained bearish positions on most Asian currencies as the U.S. dollar remained resilient but sharply eased their short bets on the Malaysian ringgit, the Indian rupee and the Taiwan dollar on positive domestic factors, a Reuters poll showed on Thursday.

The Philippine peso remained the most shorted Asian currency even as short bets eased to more-than-five-week low levels.

Short bets on the Chinese yuan, the Thai baht, and the Indonesian rupiah were largely unchanged, a fortnightly poll of 11 analysts found.

The U.S. dollar has remained resilient over the last two weeks as economic data continues to suggest the Federal Reserve may have to keep interest rates higher for longer, boosting the greenback and pressuring assets in emerging Asian markets.

"Upside surprises in inflation mean a resumption of the Fed's tightening cycle cannot be ruled out," analysts at HSBC wrote in a note.

"The implications for the USD are largely favourable, through both the interest rate and risk appetite channels. The impact will also reflect recession risks and developments outside the U.S.; the path to a weaker USD would be narrow."

Short positions on the Malaysian ringgit have now eased to their lowest since early January as strong portfolio inflows, along with repatriation of foreign income by government-linked companies, helped the currency appreciate more than 1% so far in May.

"The MYR is still fairly resilient compared to other regional currencies. Authorities coordinating conversions by GLCs/GLICs (government-linked companies or investment companies) into local currency looks to be giving the MYR support," analysts at Maybank wrote in a note.

Meanwhile, analysts, who turned bearish on the Indian rupee over the past few weeks due to external factors like global interest rates and geopolitical issues, have erased those bets and are now neutral on the currency for the first time in nearly two months.

Sentiment around the Indian currency remains elevated reflecting an improving economic outlook and a booming stock market. Analysts at S&P Global expect sound economic fundamentals in India to underpin the growth momentum over the next two to three years.

Short bets on the Chinese yuan were unchanged, remaining firmly within bearish territory, while bears trimmed their bets on the Taiwan dollar to a more-than-three-month low.

A set of policy support measures from Beijing to support China's dampening economy in the backdrop of a dwindling property market in the country has been somewhat positive for the regional Asian currencies.

The Asian currency positioning poll is focused on what analysts and fund managers believe are the current market positions in nine Asian emerging market currencies: Chinese yuan, South Korean won, Singapore dollar, Indonesian rupiah, Taiwan dollar, Indian rupee, Philippine peso, Malaysian ringgit and 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 U.S. dollars.

The figures include positions held through non-deliverable forwards (NDFs).

The survey findings are provided below (positions in U.S. dollar versus each currency):


30-May-24 1.05 0.72 0.33 0.94 0.53 0.00 0.81 1.19 1.00

16-May-24 1.05 0.96 0.35 0.96 1.02 0.39 1.23 1.29 1.00

02-May-24 1.25 1.61 0.89 1.39 1.40 0.49 1.46 1.44 1.39

18-Apr-24 1.25 1.59 0.80 1.32 1.24 0.43 1.42 1.19 1.28

4-Apr-24 1.18 1.09 0.42 1.13 1.17 0.00 1.15 0.62 1.35

21-Mar-24 0.92 0.82 0.33 0.60 0.92 -0.54 1.12 0.47 1.13

7-Mar-24 0.84 0.54 0.25 0.53 0.64 -0.59 1.14 0.52 1.05

22-Feb-24 0.70 0.40 0.20 0.20 0.70 -0.40 1.30 0.30 1.10

8-Feb-24 0.40 0.39 0.41 0.40 0.32 -0.17 1.07 0.28 0.72

(Reporting by Rishav Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Janane Venkatraman)

By Rishav Chatterjee