October 19, 2018 / 6:59 AM / 10 months ago

EM ASIA FX-Most Asian units strengthen; yuan aided by regulator comments

    * Asian currencies generally follow yuan's lead 
    * Yuan's strengthening was despite China growth slowdown
    * Ringgit slips; Malaysia cuts 2018 growth target 

 (Adds details on yuan, rupiah and ringgit, updates prices)
    By Sumeet Gaikwad
    Oct 19 (Reuters) - Most emerging Asian currencies rose on
Friday, aided by profit-taking on the dollar and a slight
strengthening of the yuan as Beijing pledged more policy support
to mitigate risks from a trade row with the United States.
    The Chinese yuan traded hands at 6.934,
marginally higher against the dollar, though still hovering
around its weakest level since early 2017.
    Shares in China initially sputtered, then recovered after
government statements bolstered market confidence as the
country's third quarter economic growth slowed to its weakest
pace since 2009.
    "The resultant stability of the RMB in the Asian session
provided some form of anchor for regional currencies," said
Fiona Lim, an FX analyst at Maybank. 
    A Reuters poll showed short positions on most Asian
currencies were seen unwinding over the past two weeks, with
traders turning sceptical of the dollar's bull run.

    The Indian rupee strengthened 0.21 percent against
the dollar and  is on track to post a weekly gain against the
dollar.
    The Singapore dollar strengthened 0.24 percent, while
the Philippine peso gained 0.21 percent against the dollar.
    The Indonesian rupiah, among Asia's worst
performing currencies this year, was marginally lower and on
track for a fifth straight week of decline against the dollar. 
    Indonesia is wrestling with a high current account deficit,
which further widens as the currency weakens. 
    "The rupiah is still in the weakening process due to global
factors as well as domestic slowing," said a FX strategist from
Indonesia. 
    The Malaysian ringgit was off 0.07 percent, and was
poised to post its fourth straight weekly decline versus the
dollar. 
    The Malaysian government on Thursday said the country will
see wider fiscal deficits and slower economic growth than
earlier forecast for this year and through 2020.
    
    CHINESE YUAN
    The yuan was on track for a weekly loss against the dollar
and has weakened more than 6 percent this year and is close to
the psychologically critical 7 per dollar level. 
    The PBOC set Friday's official midpoint at 6.9387,  the
weakest level since Jan. 4, 2017. Thursday's midpoint was fixed
at 6.9275.
    The currency is facing a double whammy of depreciation
pressure amid rising China-U.S. trade tensions and signs of a
slowing economy.
    
The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the
dollar at 0600 GMT.
    CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR
    
    
 Change at 0600 GMT                                     
 Currency                     Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen                    112.450     112.18        -0.24
 Sing dlr                     1.378       1.3816        +0.24
 Taiwan dlr                   30.915      30.975        +0.19
 Korean won                   1131.100    1135.2        +0.36
 Baht                         32.580      32.58         +0.00
 Peso                         53.850      53.965        +0.21
 Rupiah                       15200.000   15192         -0.05
 Rupee                        73.440      73.60         +0.21
 Ringgit                      4.158       4.155         -0.07
 Yuan                         6.934       6.9387        +0.07
                                                        
 Change so far in 2018                                  
 Currency                     Latest bid  End 2017      Pct Move
 Japan yen                    112.450     112.67        +0.20
 Sing dlr                     1.378       1.3373        -2.97
 Taiwan dlr                   30.915      29.848        -3.45
 Korean won                   1131.100    1070.50       -5.36
 Baht                         32.580      32.58         +0.00
 Peso                         53.850      49.93         -7.28
 Rupiah                       15200.000   13565         -10.76
 Rupee                        73.440      63.87         -13.03
 Ringgit                      4.158       4.0440        -2.74
 Yuan                         6.934       6.5069        -6.15
 
 (Reporting by Sumeet Gaikwad in Bengaluru; Additional reporting
by Nikhil Nainan; Editing by Richard Borsuk)
  
 
 
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