Forest fires brought on by drought in Malaysia and Indonesia fouled air quality to unhealthy levels in parts of Southeast Asia, stoking concerns of a repeat of the haze that engulfed the region in June.
Malaysia’s ringgit fell to a four- month low as data in China, the nation’s biggest overseas market, fell short of estimates and a recovery in the U.S. bolstered the case for the Federal Reserve to trim stimulus.
Central banks in Indonesia and India, with the worst-performing currencies among Asian emerging markets this year, will face more challenges in 2013 as they balance inflation risks with the need to boost growth.
Malaysia will reduce the entertainment budgets of ministers and freeze applications to renovate government offices as Prime Minister Najib Razak widens efforts to cut public spending. The ringgit rose.