March 8, 2019 / 5:57 AM / 4 months ago

EM ASIA FX-Asia units sink as poor China exports raise global growth worries

    * Rupiah at weakest level since Jan 4 
    * China's yuan hits 2-week low after poor trade data
    * Peso slips following new gov's comments

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Nikhil Nainan
    March 8 (Reuters) - Emerging market currencies across Asia
fell on Friday after poor  China February trade data added to
worries about the state of the global economy already increased
by the European Central Bank's dovish signals. 
    The biggest regional loser was the Indonesian rupiah,
which dropped to its lowest level since Jan 4. 
    China's yuan slipped 0.1 percent to a two-week
low after Beijing reported exports in February tumbled 20.7
percent from a year earlier, far beneath forecasts of a 4.8
percent drop and more than erasing January's surprise jump.

    The yuan has been among the best performers this year on the
heels of progress towards a trade deal between the United States
and China.
    "Hopes for the U.S. and China to seal a trade deal this
month are no longer buoying the Chinese yuan and risk appetite,"
DBS said in a note.
    The overall mood had already been brittle after the European
Central Bank on Thursday slashed its growth forecasts and
surprised markets with a new round of policy stimulus, leaving
investors fearing the worst for the global economy.
    The dollar index was 0.1 percent lower at 97.545,
while the Japanese yen appreciated 0.3 percent against
the dollar. The yen is a perceived safe haven and attracts
demand in times of market turmoil and political tensions.
    The rupiah's fall came as its market reopened after a
holiday on Thursday. The unit last stood at 14,300, down 1.2
percent for the day.
    The Philippine peso weakened 0.2 percent to 52.350
after the newly-appointed central bank chief said there is room
to ease monetary policy given cooling inflation, but the timing
of any such action depends on how the economy fares.
    Governor Benjamin Diokno, who is largely seen by the market
as pro-growth, will chair his first policy meeting on March 21.
    A Thai court's Thursday order dissolving an opposition party
for nominating the king's sister as its candidate for prime
minister in the coming election did not move the baht.

    The unit, largely flat for much of the morning, slipped 0.1
percent to 31.82 to the dollar.  
    "The Thai baht has depreciated a lot recently on uncertainty
surrounding the upcoming general election set for 24 March,"
said Gao Qi, a FX Strategist at Scotiabank.
 Change on the day at 0451 GMT                    
 Currency               Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen              111.250     111.58        +0.30
 Sing dlr               1.360       1.3606        +0.06
 Taiwan dlr             30.895      30.869        -0.08
 Korean won             1134.200    1129          -0.46
 Baht                   31.820      31.79         -0.09
 Peso                   52.350      52.25         -0.19
 Rupiah                 14300.000   14135         -1.15
 Rupee                  70.195      70.00         -0.28
 Ringgit                4.090       4.086         -0.10
 Yuan                   6.721       6.7133        -0.11
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Currency               Latest bid  End 2018      Pct Move
 Japan yen              111.250     109.56        -1.52
 Sing dlr               1.360       1.3627        +0.21
 Taiwan dlr             30.895      30.733        -0.52
 Korean won             1134.200    1115.70       -1.63
 Baht                   31.820      32.55         +2.29
 Peso                   52.350      52.47         +0.23
 Rupiah                 14300.000   14375         +0.52
 Rupee                  70.195      69.77         -0.61
 Ringgit                4.090       4.1300        +0.98
 Yuan                   6.721       6.8730        +2.26

 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by
Richard Borsuk)
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