April 15, 2019 / 5:49 AM / a month ago

EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies benefit from China data relief

    * South Korean won surges as growth worries abate
    * Rupiah up on surprise trade surplus 
    * Rupee lower ahead of trade data 

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Nikhil Nainan
    April 15 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies stepped up
against the dollar on Monday as investors took comfort in
further signs of stabilisation in the Chinese economy and an
upbeat start to U.S. earnings. 
    Chinese data on Friday showed exports rebounded sharply and
new bank loans increased far more than expected in March,
raising hopes that the world's second-biggest economy is
bottoming out after a soft patch.
    "Chinese 'green shoots' appear to be the catalyst for
optimism, lifting bond yields and global equities into the end
of last week in what appeared to be all-around 'risk on'",
Mizuho Bank said in a note. 
    Markets are now turning their focus to the release of
China's first-quarter GDP and activity data on Wednesday. Growth
in the first quarter is forecast to have cooled to a 27-year
low, though many expect major stimulus measures to filter
through in the coming quarters.  
    The yuan edged lower to 6.710, a 0.1 percent drop
from Friday's close, pressured by some corporate demand for the
greenback. 
    South Korea's won outperformed its regional
peers, up 0.6 percent to 1,133.2, as slowdown worries ease. 
    The dollar index, a gauge of the performance of the
greenback against a basket of key rival currencies
weakened 0.1 percent to 96.857. 
    Elsewhere, Indonesia posted a surprise trade surplus for a
second straight month in March. The rupiah was 0.2
percent up at 14,060, a level it held for much of the session.

    The rupiah, which is at a more than one-month high against
the dollar, has been among the best performing currencies this
year.  
    On Wednesday, Southeast Asia's largest economy goes to the
polls. The election in the world's third-biggest democracy is a
repeat of the 2014 contest, and the incumbent, president Joko
Widodo, has been comfortably ahead in most surveys after winning
by almost six percentage points last time around.
    The Indian rupee, on the other hand, which also
reports trade data for March, weakened 0.2 percent to 69.29 a
dollar.
    "INR may be more vulnerable to the 'twin deficits' risks if
trade deficit gets too close to or crosses $10 billion," Mizuho
Bank said, as oil prices rise.
    The Philippine traded sideways for much of the
session, but was last up 0.1 percent ahead of remittances data
later in the day.  
    Markets in Thailand are closed for a public holiday. 
    
    CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR
 Change on the day at 0503 GMT                    
 Currency               Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen              111.930     112           +0.06
 Sing dlr               1.353       1.3526        +0.00
 Taiwan dlr             30.858      30.880        +0.07
 Korean won             1133.200    1139.4        +0.55
 Peso                   51.660      51.69         +0.06
 Rupiah                 14060.000   14090         +0.21
 Rupee                  69.290      69.15         -0.20
 Ringgit                4.110       4.112         +0.05
 Yuan                   6.710       6.7048        -0.07
                                                  
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Currency               Latest bid  End 2018      Pct Move
 Japan yen              111.930     109.56        -2.12
 Sing dlr               1.353       1.3627        +0.75
 Taiwan dlr             30.858      30.733        -0.41
 Korean won             1133.200    1115.70       -1.54
 Peso                   51.660      52.47         +1.57
 Rupiah                 14060.000   14375         +2.24
 Rupee                  69.290      69.77         +0.69
 Ringgit                4.110       4.1300        +0.49
 Yuan                   6.710       6.8730        +2.44
 
 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru
Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
  
 
 
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