IBTimes UK

Weakness in US dollar after the latest ECB policy moves has strengthened Asian currencies on Friday; the Thai baht has rallied to a 5-month high and the Indonesian rupiah has extended its gains to a new 10-month high.

The European Central Bank cut its bench mark lending rate to negative in a surprise move on Thursday and announced several measures to shore up growth in the region.

The ECB cut the policy lending rate from 0.05% to zero and lowered the deposit rate from -0.3% to -0.4%.

The central bank increased the amount of bonds it is buying, under a process called quantitative easing, by €20bn to €80bn. Moreover, this time it will now include bonds issued by companies and not just by governments.

In addition, the ECB has announced new ultra-cheap four-year loans to banks, allowing them to borrow from the ECB at negative interest rates.

The euro has strengthened tracking the economy boosting measures announced by Mario Draghi, the ECB President, weakening the US dollar broadly.

The Thai baht rose to 35.16/US dollar, its strongest since mid-October, from the previous close of 35.33. The Indonesian rupiah strengthened to 13,043/dollar from Thursday's close of 13,120.

Euro traded a range of $1.1210-1.1169 during early Asia, little changed from the previous close, but significantly above Wednesday's close of 1.1004.

The ECB easing has not boosted global risk sentiment as Draghi's forward guidance suggests there won't be further cuts in the interest rates.

Asian equity indices were mixed on Friday with Japan's Nikkei 225 down 0.87% while Hang Seng index was up 0.56% around 11:30 am in Singapore.