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EM ASIA FX-Rupiah slips on Jakarta election result; other Asian currencies lower
April 20, 2017 / 5:50 AM / 7 months ago

EM ASIA FX-Rupiah slips on Jakarta election result; other Asian currencies lower

 (Adds details, updates prices)
    * Indonesian rupiah slips after Jakarta elections
    * Incumbent Jakarta governor loses by big margin
    * Jakarta election won't have sustained impact on IDR -
    * Most other Asian currencies down

    By Aparajita Saxena
    April 20 (Reuters) - Indonesian rupiah, the biggest
loser among Asian currencies, fell 0.26 percent to trade at
13,330 on Thursday when polls showed that Basuki Tjahaja Purnama
lost his bid for re-election as governor of Jakarta to Anies
Baswedan - a former education minister.
    Purnama or Ahok as he is popularly known, who was seen as a
foreign-friendly candidate, lost Wednesday's election by a huge
margin, a surprise as most opinion polls had pointed to a neck
and neck race between the two candidates.
    The rupiah opened 0.19 percent lower versus the dollar on
Thursday, following a market holiday on Wednesday, and fell
further during the morning session in reaction to the election
    But while most analysts do not expect the election results
to have a sustained impact on the rupiah market, Nomura said
Purnama's defeat was slightly negative for the rupiah in the
near term.
    "Foreign investors and media were very impressed by
Jakarta's acceptance (as reflected in Purnama's high approval
ratings) of a non-Muslim, ethnic-Chinese Governor, and his loss
will likely cause them to question Indonesia's level of
religious tolerance," Nomura said in a note.
    The precursor to this key election was a campaign that
incited political and religious tensions in the world's most
populous Muslim country.
    Investors also eased their positions in the Indonesian stock
market, which fell marginally, following the election
results, and parked their money in the three year Indonesian
benchmark bond  instead, the yields on which fell to
6.613 percent, the lowest level in around five months.
    More than a third of outstanding Indonesian government bonds
are held by foreigners.
    Other factor that kept the currency subdued was a key
economic policy meeting later in the day, where the central bank
is widely expected to keep interest rate steady, according to a
Reuters poll.
    Most other Asian currencies also fell on Thursday, as
traders pared back bets ahead of the French presidential
election, while weak U.S. data, and tensions around North Korea
conflict added to uncertainty.
    France's presidential election is being closely watched as
the stakes for investors are high, with two anti-EU, anti-euro
candidates among the four seen still in contention to make it to
a second round two weeks after Sunday's ballot.

    The dollar index further weighed on EM currencies,
creeping up 0.06 percent in Asian trading on Thursday, against a
basket of six major rivals.
    The Malaysian ringgit fell 0.02 percent versus the
U.S. dollar, while the Taiwan dollar dropped to 30.423
ahead of export orders data which is expected to show an
expansion in March, a Reuters poll showed. The pace of growth,
however, is seen halving from February.
    The Thai baht rose marginally after the central
bank said Wednesday it is ready to act on any excessive
volatility in the currency.
     China's central bank has relaxed some of the curbs on
cross-border capital outflows it put in place just months ago to
shore up the yuan currency, banking sources told Reuters on
    As of last week, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) is no
longer demanding that banks match outflows with equal inflows,
the sources said.
    This relaxation suggests China has more confidence in the
yuan, and concerns about disorderly outflows have subsided, OCBC
said in a note.
    The yuan was unaffected by the news and traded
flat on Thursday.
    The currency slumped around 6.5 percent against the dollar
last year, but has firmed nearly 1 percent in 2017, defying, for
now, many analysts' expectations of further depreciation.
    A Reuters poll earlier this month indicated investors likely
increased their bullish bets on the yuan to the most since July

  Currency         Latest bid  Previous day   Pct Move
  Japan yen        108.960           108.85      -0.10
  Sing dlr         1.398             1.3983      +0.05
  Taiwan dlr       30.423            30.418      -0.02
  Korean won       1141.400          1140.2      -0.11
  Baht             34.370             34.38      +0.03
  Peso             49.835            49.725      -0.22
  Rupiah           13330.000          13295      -0.26
  Rupee            64.660             64.58      -0.13
  Ringgit          4.400             4.3985      -0.02
  Yuan             6.887             6.8880      +0.02
  Change so far                                       
  Currency         Latest bid  End 2016       Pct Move
  Japan yen        108.960           117.07      +7.44
  Sing dlr         1.398             1.4490      +3.68
  Taiwan dlr       30.423            32.279      +6.10
  Korean won       1141.400         1207.70      +5.81
  Baht             34.370             35.80      +4.16
  Peso             49.835             49.72      -0.23
  Rupiah           13330.000          13470      +1.05
  Rupee            64.660             67.92      +5.04
  Ringgit          4.400             4.4845      +1.93
  Yuan             6.887             6.9467      +0.87

 (Reporting by Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; Editing by Eric

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