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Shriya Ramakrishnan

REFILE-EM ASIA FX-Indonesia's rupiah rallies as Jokowi poised for re-election; others muted

18 Apr 2019

(Adds dropped name in paragraph 8) * Indonesian rupiah hits over 1-month high * South Korea's c.bank cuts 2019 growth forecast * Malaysian ringgit weakens for third straight day By Shriya Ramakrishnan April 18 Indonesia's rupiah strengthened on Thursday after early election results indicated a second term for incumbent Joko Widodo, but most other Asian currencies were subdued ahead of the long Easter weekend holiday. A quick count of Wednesday's election results showed Widodo winning the popular vote with at least 54 percent, giving him a lead of around eight percentage points over former general Prabowo Subianto, who was narrowly defeated by Widodo in the last election five years ago. The rupiah appreciated as much as 0.6 percent to 13,990 against the dollar, touching its strongest level in more than a month. "Should official results confirm Jokowi's win, the rupiah should remain buoyed by expectations of policy continuity and acceleration in infrastructure spending together with further fiscal policies to tame the twin deficits," Maybank said in a note. However, reduced volatility ahead of holidays in the region kept most other Asian currencies confined to very tight trading ranges. "Investors may want to close their positions before the long weekend, so I think there could be more closing position activity rather than opening a new position," said Margaret Yang Yan, a market analyst at CMC Markets Singapore. The Thai baht weakened 0.1 percent, while the Singapore dollar edged lower. The Indian rupee which resumed trading after a public holiday, firmed 0.3 percent. Indians began voting in the second phase of general elections, in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi has emerged as a frontrunner. Elections in the world's largest democracy began last week, with official results expected on May 23. The Malaysian ringgit was on track to extend declines for a third straight session, dropping 0.2 percent against the greenback. The ringgit and Malaysian bonds have weakened on worries that the country's debt may be removed from a key global bond index, which could see billions of dollars leave its shores. The Chinese yuan eased off a one-month high against the dollar, as some companies took advantage of a much stronger yuan midpoint to load up on the greenback. S.KOREA WON DIPS AFTER C.BANK CUTS GROWTH FORECAST The South Korean won eased 0.1 percent after the central bank cut its 2019 growth forecast to a seven-year low while keeping its policy rate unchanged. Bank of Korea also lowered its inflation forecast for the year down to 1.1 percent from 1.4 percent earlier, bolstering views it may cut rates soon. The downgrades come as the trade-reliant economy is facing increasing pressure from sluggish exports and a stagnant property market. A slowing global economy and abrupt end to U.S. Federal Reserve policy tightening has led to growing expectations of rate cuts or easier policy stance across Asia. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Change on the day at 0531 GMT Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 111.880 112.05 +0.15 Sing dlr 1.353 1.3525 -0.06 Taiwan dlr 30.845 30.848 +0.01 Korean won 1136.400 1134.8 -0.14 Baht 31.805 31.76 -0.14 Peso 51.650 51.63 -0.04 Rupiah 14035.000 14080 +0.32 Rupee 69.405 69.60 +0.28 Ringgit 4.142 4.133 -0.22 Yuan 6.692 6.6880 -0.06 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 111.880 109.56 -2.07 Sing dlr 1.353 1.3627 +0.69 Taiwan dlr 30.845 30.733 -0.36 Korean won 1136.400 1115.70 -1.82 Baht 31.805 32.55 +2.34 Peso 51.650 52.47 +1.59 Rupiah 14035.000 14375 +2.42 Rupee 69.405 69.77 +0.53 Ringgit 4.142 4.1300 -0.29 Yuan 6.692 6.8730 +2.70 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill)

China GDP lifts yuan; ringgit eases on outflow concerns

17 Apr 2019

The yuan firmed on surprisingly solid Chinese economic growth data on Wednesday, which raised hopes of stabilisation in the world's second-largest economy, while Malaysia's ringgit weakened on rising capital outflow worries.

EM ASIA FX-Most currencies subdued, South Korean won leads declines

22 Mar 2019

* Indian rupee on track for 6th straight weekly gain * Malaysia's Feb CPI falls 0.4 pct y/y * Indonesian rupiah set to gain 0.7 pct this week (Adds text, updates prices) By Shriya Ramakrishnan March 22 Most Asian currencies were subdued on Friday as investors locked in gains from the previous session after U.S. Federal Reserve affirmed a dovish stance at its policy meeting this week. The South Korean won, which was on track to firm 0.6 percent this week, was the region's biggest loser on the day, weakening 0.3 percent against the dollar. South Korea's central bank chief said on Thursday the Fed decision to abandon any interest rate hikes this year eased uncertainties for policymakers in Seoul. But he added it was too early to discuss cutting interest rates in Asia's fourth largest economy due to the lack of clarity on Brexit and China's slowing economy. Among other currencies, Indonesia's rupiah depreciated slightly against the dollar, but was poised to record a weekly gain of 0.7 percent. Bank Indonesia kept its benchmark rate on hold on Thursday to maintain financial stability, and tweaked some rules to encourage more lending. "We expect Bank Indonesia to continue supporting IDR liquidity to cushion the banking sector from the impacts of the aggressive tightening in 2018," said Eugenia Fabon Victorino, Head of Asia Strategy at SEB Markets. The central bank said its guidance on the financing-to-funding ratio for commercial banks would move to a 84-94 percent range, from 80-92 percent, effective July 1. The Malaysian ringgit was largely unchanged after data showed the economy remained in deflation for a second straight month in February due to lower fuel prices. Bucking the trend, the Indian rupee, which resumed trading after a public holiday, strengthened up to 0.4 percent, and is on track to record its sixth straight weekly gain. "It is just playing catch-up with on-shore players getting back into the market and reacting to the Fed as the currencies did on Thursday," said Mitul Kotecha, Senior Emerging Markets Strategist at TD Securities. THE PHILIPPINE PESO The Philippine peso strengthened as much as 0.2 percent after Bangko Sentral Pilipinas (BSP) kept its benchmark interest rate steady for a third straight meeting on Thursday. The central bank also cut its average inflation forecast for this year to 3.0 percent, down from its previous forecast of 3.07 percent. BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo said a further cut in the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves is always on the table, but needs careful study before an adjustment is considered. The reserve requirement for banks was cut twice last year to 18 percent. The peso is among the region's worst performers so far this year, and has weakened on the back of a cut in 2019 GDP forecast and the possibility of cuts in the reserve requirement ratio. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0529 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 110.830 110.8 -0.03 Sing dlr 1.349 1.3489 -0.02 Taiwan dlr 30.800 30.816 +0.05 Korean won 1130.600 1127.7 -0.26 Baht 31.710 31.67 -0.13 Peso 52.500 52.59 +0.17 Rupiah 14155.000 14135 -0.14 Rupee 68.610 68.82 +0.31 Ringgit 4.058 4.06 +0.05 Yuan 6.704 6.6998 -0.07 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 110.830 109.56 -1.15 Sing dlr 1.349 1.3627 +1.00 Taiwan dlr 30.800 30.733 -0.22 Korean won 1130.600 1115.70 -1.32 Baht 31.710 32.55 +2.65 Peso 52.500 52.47 -0.06 Rupiah 14155.000 14375 +1.55 Rupee 68.610 69.77 +1.69 Ringgit 4.058 4.1300 +1.77 Yuan 6.704 6.8730 +2.51 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru, Additional reporting by Niyati Shetty; editing by Darren Schuettler)

Asian currencies gain on Fed's more cautious stance

21 Mar 2019

Emerging Asian currencies firmed on Thursday as the dollar weakened after the U.S. Federal Reserve surprised markets by bringing its three-year tightening drive to an earlier than expected end.

CORRECTED-EM ASIA FX-Most Asian units advance ahead of Fed meeting

19 Mar 2019

(Corrects 7th paragraph to say the Taiwan dollar rose as much as 0.2 percent, not fell) * Fed's two-day policy meeting starts later on Tuesday * Thai c. bank seen keeping rates on hold on Wed * Philippine peso weakens again By Shriya Ramakrishnan March 19 Most emerging Asian currencies strengthened against a weaker dollar on Tuesday, on expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will confirm a dovish stance, amid slowing global growth, at a policy meeting beginning later in the day. The Fed, which raised rates four times last year, is widely expected to keep its benchmark overnight interest rate unchanged and stick to a pledge of a "patient" approach to any further hikes. The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, hovered close to a two-week low at 96.495. The Korean won appreciated 0.1 percent to 1,1321.1 against the dollar. The Philippine peso, which weakened last week after the 2019 growth forecast was reduced and the new central bank governor flagged the possibility of cuts in the amount of cash banks must hold as reserves, slipped 0.2 percent against the dollar. "With monetary easing expected to accelerate (to boost growth) and thus interest rate support to be weaker, markets now see greater downside risks to the PHP," DBS said on Tuesday. The Taiwan dollar rose 0.2 percent before paring gains. The island's export orders, considered a leading indicator of demand for Asia's exports and hi-tech gadgets, are expected to have contracted for a fourth straight month in February, a Reuters poll showed. Data is due at 0800 GMT. The Indian rupee, which has strengthened the past six sessions, firmed as much as 0.3 percent against the dollar, touching its highest point since Aug. 2, before the day's gains were erased. The rupee has generally appreciated the past few weeks, in line with foreign inflows into Indian equities and debt markets amid expectations that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party will be re-elected in coming elections. THAI BAHT The Thai baht gained 0.1 percent to 31.68 against the dollar, ahead of a central bank policy meeting on Wednesday. The Bank of Thailand is expected to keep its benchmark policy rate steady for a second straight review after a hike in December, in a bid to support a slowing economy. In a note, Mizuho Bank said March 24 general elections "could bring the country's extant polarization of political views into relief again. The baht has now priced in a political risk premium amidst renewed tensions." The election will be the first since a military coup in 2014. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0521 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 111.260 111.42 +0.14 Sing dlr 1.350 1.3509 +0.04 Taiwan dlr 30.800 30.832 +0.10 Korean won 1130.500 1132.1 +0.14 Baht 31.640 31.68 +0.13 Peso 52.770 52.69 -0.15 Rupiah 14223.000 14235 +0.08 Rupee 68.560 68.53 -0.05 Ringgit 4.074 4.076 +0.05 Yuan 6.716 6.7135 -0.04 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 111.260 109.56 -1.53 Sing dlr 1.350 1.3627 +0.91 Taiwan dlr 30.800 30.733 -0.22 Korean won 1130.500 1115.70 -1.31 Baht 31.640 32.55 +2.88 Peso 52.770 52.47 -0.57 Rupiah 14223.000 14375 +1.07 Rupee 68.560 69.77 +1.76 Ringgit 4.074 4.1300 +1.37 Yuan 6.716 6.8730 +2.34 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

EM ASIA FX-Most Asian currencies rise as U.S. data weighs on dollar

18 Mar 2019

* South Korean won leads gains * Singapore Feb exports rise 4.9 pct, rebound from multi-yr lows * Indian rupee hits more than 7-month high (Adds text, updates prices) By Shriya Ramakrishnan March 18 Most emerging Asian currencies gained on Monday against the dollar, which fell as weak U.S. economic data triggered speculation the Federal Reserve would strike a dovish tone at its policy meeting this week. Figures released on Friday showed U.S. manufacturing output fell 0.4 percent in February, weakening for a second straight month, while factory activity in New York state hit a near two-year low this month. Leading gains in the region, the South Korean won strengthened 0.5 percent to 1,137.3 against the greenback. The Fed in its two-day policy meeting on March 19 and 20 is widely expected to keep interest rates steady for the rest of the year, while many traders are even building in bets for a rate cut in 2020. The benchmark 10-year and 2-year U.S. Treasury yields fell to their lowest levels since early January, while the dollar index, a gauge of its value against a basket of six key rivals stood at 96.564, having shed 0.8 percent last week, the biggest loss since late August. The Indian rupee firmed 0.3 percent on the day, to its strongest level since Aug. 10, while the Indonesian rupiah gained 0.2 percent, as the region's net crude oil importers benefited from a drop in prices of the commodity. The rupee, which was emerging Asia's worst performing currency in 2018, has regained some of the lost appetite and appreciated by 1.3 percent so far this year. The Malaysian ringgit and Taiwan dollar strengthened 0.2 percent each. The Singapore dollar clawed back earlier losses to trade flat, after data showed the city-state posting a surprise jump in February exports. THE PHILIPPINE PESO The Philippine peso was the sole outlier on the day, weakening 0.1 percent to 52.59 against the dollar, after the country on Friday posted its largest current account deficit on record in 2018. The deficit was driven mainly by increases in imports. Investors will also be looking out for newly-appointed central bank chief Benjamin Diokno's first policy meeting on March 21, with expectations that the central bank will keep rates steady until inflation is firmly within its target. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0516 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 111.520 111.45 -0.06 Sing dlr 1.352 1.3523 +0.05 Taiwan dlr 30.837 30.888 +0.17 Korean won 1131.700 1137.3 +0.49 Baht 31.650 31.69 +0.13 Peso 52.660 52.59 -0.13 Rupiah 14235.000 14255 +0.14 Rupee 68.870 69.09 +0.32 Ringgit 4.080 4.089 +0.22 Yuan 6.713 6.7140 +0.02 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 111.520 109.56 -1.76 Sing dlr 1.352 1.3627 +0.82 Taiwan dlr 30.837 30.733 -0.34 Korean won 1131.700 1115.70 -1.41 Baht 31.650 32.55 +2.84 Peso 52.660 52.47 -0.36 Rupiah 14235.000 14375 +0.98 Rupee 68.870 69.77 +1.31 Ringgit 4.080 4.1300 +1.23 Yuan 6.713 6.8730 +2.39 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam Holmes)

EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies eke out small gains; S. Korean won falls

15 Mar 2019

* S. Korean won hits 4-month low * Indian rupee set to gain for fifth straight week * Indonesia posts surprise trade surplus in Feb (Adds text, updates prices) By Shriya Ramakrishnan March 15 Most emerging Asian currencies made small gains on Friday as improved sentiment over reports of progress in U.S.-China trade talks was partially tempered by fears of a fresh flare up in tensions on the Korean peninsula, which knocked the won. The South Korean won weakened as much as 0.4 percent to 1139.20 against the dollar, its lowest level since Nov. 13, hit by reports that North Korea is considering suspending nuclear talks with the United States. The news comes after the failed summit last month between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam. "If North Korea does pull out of talks, that will bring geopolitical concerns in the Korean peninsula back on the table. We will see Korean assets starting to price in geopolitical risk elements," Khoon Goh, head of Asia research at ANZ Banking Group (Singapore) said. Much of the rest of emerging Asia drew some relief as Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said he spoke by telephone with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, with the two sides making further substantive progress on trade talks. The overall gains, however, were capped by uncertainty over when the two economic powers would reach an agreement. The Singapore dollar edged higher and was set to gain for the week, while the Philippine peso dipped 0.1 percent against the dollar. THE INDONESIAN RUPIAH The Indonesian rupiah weakened as much as 0.3 percent, before paring some of the losses. Data showed the country posted a surprise trade surplus in February, for the first time in five months, as imports unexpectedly fell sharply. Southeast Asia's largest economy has been struggling to reduce its trade deficit, which hit a record high of $8.5 billion last year. "The fact that Indonesia managed to turn the large trade deficit into a small surplus has seen the rupiah recover somewhat," Goh said. However, he noted that Indonesia is still running a current account deficit, and weak trade numbers from across Asia, were factors that would continue to weigh on the currency. THE INDIAN RUPEE The Indian rupee strengthened as much as 0.4 percent to 69.10 on the dollar, and is set to gain for a fifth consecutive week. Investors have regained some of their lost appetite for emerging Asia's worst performing currency in 2018, when it tumbled more than 8 percent. A Reuters poll showed investors are bullish on the rupee for the first time in nearly a year, as a recent surge in popularity of the country's ruling party is expected to bode well for its alliance in the upcoming national elections. "The rupee continues to remain on appreciating mode due to foreign institutional investors inflow in the debt and equity market," Rushabh Maru, a currency and commodity analyst at Anand Rathi Shares and Stock Brokers Ltd said. "Crude oil prices are stable and hence inflation is expected to remain benign in coming months." The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0616 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 111.640 111.7 +0.05 Sing dlr 1.355 1.3556 +0.07 Taiwan dlr 30.890 30.901 +0.04 Korean won 1137.900 1134.8 -0.27 Baht 31.720 31.76 +0.13 Peso 52.730 52.68 -0.09 Rupiah 14285.000 14262 -0.16 Rupee 69.198 69.35 +0.22 Ringgit 4.088 4.089 +0.02 Yuan 6.719 6.7240 +0.07 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 111.640 109.56 -1.86 Sing dlr 1.355 1.3627 +0.59 Taiwan dlr 30.890 30.733 -0.51 Korean won 1137.900 1115.70 -1.95 Baht 31.720 32.55 +2.62 Peso 52.730 52.47 -0.49 Rupiah 14285.000 14375 +0.63 Rupee 69.198 69.77 +0.83 Ringgit 4.088 4.1300 +1.03 Yuan 6.719 6.8730 +2.29 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies soften after China data, baht leads losses

14 Mar 2019

* China's Jan-Feb industrial output falls to 17-yr low * Thai baht leads losses in emerging Asia * Peso slips following cut in Philippine 2019 GDP By Shriya Ramakrishnan March 14 Most Asian currencies weakened against the dollar on Thursday, as investors grappled with a slew of economic data from the region's largest trading partner, China, while uncertainty over a U.S.-Sino trade deal continued to weigh on risk appetite. China's industrial output fell to a 17-year low in the first two months of the year, data showed on Thursday, while investment picked up speed as the government fast-tracked more road and rail projects as they work to avert a sharper slowdown. Earlier this month, China announced stimulus measures to shore up its slowing economy through billions of dollars in planned tax cuts and infrastructure spending amid softer domestic demand and a trade war with the United States. Adding to fears was U.S. President Donald Trump's comment that he was in no rush to complete a trade pact with China. Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping had been expected to hold a summit later this month, but no date has been set for a meeting. "The rally in Asian currencies has paused as a U.S.-China trade deal doesn't look like a slam dunk, despite markets mostly pricing in a deal by now," Mizuho Bank said in a note. Among the regional players, currencies that are more sensitive to trade tensions such as the Singapore dollar weakened 0.2 percent, while the South Korean won edged lower. The Philippine peso slid 0.3 percent to 52.76 against the dollar. The Philippines, one of the fastest emerging economies in Asia, trimmed its 2019 GDP growth target to 6-7 percent, from 7-8 percent citing a delay in final legislative approval of the budget, while the economic planning chief said growth might fall to below 5 percent. The government's economic team kept its forecast unchanged for the peso exchange rate of 52-55 against the dollar from now through 2022. Currencies of major oil importers such as the Indonesian rupiah and Indian rupee weakened as Brent crude oil prices hit their highest so far this year amid ongoing supply cuts led by producer cartel OPEC and by U.S. sanctions against Venezuela and Iran. THAI MARKET UNDER PRESSURE The Thai baht led declines among emerging Asia's currencies, shedding 0.3 percent against the greenback to 31.61. "The Thai market underperformed the region in Q1, as growth and political headwinds intensified," DBS Bank said in a note. The baht is so far the best performer in emerging Asia this year after it also took the top spot in 2018. Earlier this year, the finance minister raised concerns that strength in the baht was hurting exports, and a central bank official warned that exports in Southeast Asia's second-largest economy was likely to contract in the first quarter. Foreign investors have so far sold $315 million worth of Thai equities this month, according to exchange data. Thailand goes to the polls on March 24 in the first elections since a military coup. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0538 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 111.550 111.15 -0.36 Sing dlr 1.354 1.3521 -0.17 Taiwan dlr 30.902 30.910 +0.03 Korean won 1134.100 1132.6 -0.13 Baht 31.710 31.61 -0.32 Peso 52.760 52.63 -0.25 Rupiah 14270.000 14260 -0.07 Rupee 69.580 69.54 -0.06 Ringgit 4.088 4.0865 -0.04 Yuan 6.712 6.7070 -0.07 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 111.550 109.56 -1.78 Sing dlr 1.354 1.3627 +0.61 Taiwan dlr 30.902 30.733 -0.55 Korean won 1134.100 1115.70 -1.62 Baht 31.710 32.55 +2.65 Peso 52.760 52.47 -0.55 Rupiah 14270.000 14375 +0.74 Rupee 69.580 69.77 +0.27 Ringgit 4.088 4.1300 +1.03 Yuan 6.712 6.8730 +2.41 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru, Additional reporting by Gaurav Dogra Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies skittish on trade deal caution; won top loser

13 Mar 2019

* South Korean won top decliner in the region * Higher oil prices weaken rupiah * Peso flat after early gains (Adds text, updates prices) By Shriya Ramakrishnan March 13 Most emerging Asian currencies traded flat to lower on Wednesday, with the South Korean won weakening the most as investors looked for signs of a breakthrough in U.S.-China trade negotiations. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Tuesday he hopes the United States and China are in the final weeks of talks to secure a deal to ease a trade war between the world's largest economies, but cautioned that major issues remained. Investors will also keep a close watch on key industrial output data from China for the first two months of the year due on Thursday. Last week, China reported dismal trade data with February exports plunging 20.7 percent from a year earlier, pointing to further weakness in domestic demand and concerns about a slowdown in global growth. Leading declines in the region, the trade-sensitive South Korean won slipped as much as 0.3 percent against the greenback, in tandem with the local equity benchmark index. The KOSPI index fell more than 1 percent earlier on Wednesday. South Korea's export-reliant economy stands to gain highly from any positive development in the U.S.-China trade war front, as it is largely affected by demand from both countries. The Malaysian ringgit weakened 0.2 percent, while the Singapore dollar was marginally lower. Meanwhile, higher global crude oil prices put the region's net importers under pressure, with the Indonesian rupiah dropping as much as 0.2 percent, while the Indian rupee was largely flat. India's annual consumer prices rose at a faster pace than anticipated, but remained below the central bank's target for a seventh straight month, lending weight to expectations that the central bank could once again cut the key interest rate in April. PHILIPPINE PESO The peso traded flat after rising as much as 0.7 percent earlier. Gao Qi, a forex strategist at Scotiabank, attributed the day's early gains to a correction, as the USD-PHP pair had been overbought. The local unit declined 0.8 percent last week, after the newly-appointed central bank chief Benjamin Diokno said there was room to ease monetary policy given cooling inflation. Diokno on Tuesday raised the possibility of several cuts this year in the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves, and that the current reserve requirement ratio of 18 percent was still too high despite two cuts last year. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0511 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 111.290 111.35 +0.05 Sing dlr 1.356 1.3557 -0.05 Taiwan dlr 30.905 30.905 +0.00 Korean won 1132.500 1129.8 -0.24 Baht 31.650 31.63 -0.06 Peso 52.900 52.96 +0.11 Rupiah 14275.000 14260 -0.11 Rupee 69.710 69.70 -0.01 Ringgit 4.090 4.082 -0.20 Yuan 6.711 6.7098 -0.02 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 111.290 109.56 -1.55 Sing dlr 1.356 1.3627 +0.46 Taiwan dlr 30.905 30.733 -0.56 Korean won 1132.500 1115.70 -1.48 Baht 31.650 32.55 +2.84 Peso 52.900 52.47 -0.81 Rupiah 14275.000 14375 +0.70 Rupee 69.710 69.77 +0.09 Ringgit 4.090 4.1300 +0.98 Yuan 6.711 6.8730 +2.41 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

SE Asia Stocks-Fall as dismal China trade data stokes global growth fears

08 Mar 2019

* China Feb exports fall 20.8 pct * Philippines snaps two straight sessions of gains * Indonesian shares hit 1-1/2-mth closing low By Shriya Ramakrishnan March 8 Southeast Asian stocks tumbled on Friday in line with broader Asian peers, after the region's largest trading partner, China, reported a sharper-than-expected fall in exports in February, reigniting concerns of a global slowdown. Exports from Beijing in February fell 20.7 percent from a year earlier - the largest decline in three years - compared to forecasts of a 4.8 percent drop, pointing to a further cooling in the economy despite a spate of support measures. The data comes just a day after the European Central Bank slashed its growth forecasts, deferring rate hikes until 2020 and offering banks a new round of cheap loans, as it cautioned that the economy was in "a period of continued weakness and pervasive uncertainty". "Even as the measures taken by ECB were not too surprising, the pre-emptive timing clearly was, and was a clear admission of greater concern about the economy," Madhavi Arora, an economist at Edelweiss Securities Limited said in a note. In Southeast Asia, the Singapore index fell for a third session in four, dropping 1 percent to a more than one-month low with broad-based losses. The country's largest lender DBS Group Holdings Ltd and Singapore Telecommunications Ltd lost 1 percent each. The Singapore benchmark index posted a 0.8 percent fall for the week. Philippine stocks snapped their two-day rally, declining 1.1 percent, hurt by weakness in industrial and financial sectors. SM Investments Corp and Bank of the Philippine Islands were among the biggest drags on the benchmark index, shedding 3 and 2.2 percent, respectively. However, the Philippine stock index, which was the worst performer in the region last week, recorded a weekly gain of 2 percent. Indonesian shares fell 1.2 percent to a one-and-a-half-month low as trading resumed after a holiday on Thursday, with financial and consumer stocks taking the biggest hit. An index of the country's 45 most liquid stocks declined 1.4 percent. Vietnam stocks, which have outperformed their regional peers by a vast margin this year, closed 0.9 percent lower on Friday. Shares of oil and gas refiner Petrovietnam Gas Joint Stock Corp fell 1.9 percent, while real estate firm Vinhomes JSC lost 0.5 percent. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3195.87 3229.48 -1.04 Bangkok 1630.12 1633.21 -0.19 Manila 7797.11 7881.79 -1.07 Jakarta 6383.068 6457.956 -1.16 Kuala Lumpur 1679.9 1686.95 -0.42 Ho Chi Minh 985.25 994.03 -0.88 Change so far in 2019 Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3195.87 3068.76 4.14 Bangkok 1630.12 1563.88 4.24 Manila 7797.11 7,466.02 4.43 Jakarta 6383.068 6,194.50 3.04 Kuala Lumpur 1679.9 1690.58 -0.63 Ho Chi Minh 985.25 892.54 10.39 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan; Editing by Shreejay Sinha)

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