More Asia interest-rate cuts on the way, Morgan Stanley says

Morgan Stanley says that Asian central banks will continue to cut interest rates into 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) - Asian central banks will continue to cut interest rates into next year, though limited policy space and elevated debt levels will make this a modest easing cycle for some, according to Morgan Stanley.

Taking dovish cues from the US Federal Reserve, Indonesia and the Philippines will unwind some of the aggressive tightening from 2018, while India and Malaysia will likely continue easing to support weakening economies, said Deyi Tan, Hong Kong-based Asia economist at Morgan Stanley.

In Thailand and South Korea, one rate cut each is forecast from now through 2020, while China and Taiwan are unlikely to adjust policy rates, she said.

"This doesn't look like an aggressive easing cycle," she said.

The Fed is poised to cut rates on July 31 for the first time since 2008, amid a global slowdown, yet still solid US growth. Across Asia, central banks in India, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia have already eased this year.

Policy makers will also have room to use macroprudential measures to take more targeted action than the blunt rate reductions allow. Those lending-control measures are likely to be ramped up in Asia, and can help ensure that liquidity will go to the right places in the economy, said Tan.

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