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Shriya Ramakrishnan

REFILE-UPDATE 3-Major miners reveal tailings dam data, action plans following disasters

07 Jun 2019

June 7 Global miners BHP Group, Anglo American Plc and Glencore Plc revealed details on tailings dams, months after ethical investors sought the information following a second deadly dam disaster in Brazil.

EM ASIA FX-Thai baht, China's yuan strengthen as U.S. tariff hike kicks in

10 May 2019

* Trump's tariffs hike come into effect * Thai baht at 1-1/2 month high * S. Korean won snaps two sessions of declines (Adds text, updates prices) By Shriya Ramakrishnan May 10 Most emerging Asian currencies rose on Friday, helped by a range of factors and amid cautious support for regional markets on hopes Beijing and Washington might be able to strike a trade deal, despite U.S. tariff hikes taking effect. The Thai baht made gains, helped by emerging clarity about the winner of the Southeast Asian nation's first election since the 2014 military coup. While Washington's threatened tariff increase on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods took effect, investors took some comfort from the fact that Sino-U.S. negotiations this week had not fallen apart. However, investor sentiment remains fragile. "The only good news here is that China stays for talks on Friday. The fact talks were only 90 minutes suggest there was little movement on both sides. The talks Friday will probably focus on how to get talks back on track," Allan von Mehren, chief analyst at Danske Bank, wrote in a research note. China's yuan strengthened 0.3% against the greenback, despite China's central bank setting the midpoint of the currency's daily trading band at its weakest level in 3-1/2 months before the market open. U.S. and Chinese officials will return to the negotiating table later on Friday. South Korea's won snapped two sessions of losses to strengthen 0.2% on the day, having received some support from central bank intervention, which was suspected of selling dollars to curb the unit's fall, according to traders. South Korea's financial minister said it will respond to volatility stemming from U.S.-China trade talks and monitor currency movement around the clock. A Reuters poll showed that short positions on the won, the worst performing currency in the region this year, were at their highest since January 2016, as a slew of weak economic data has heavily weighed on the unit. Meanwhile, the Philippine peso strengthened 0.2% on the day. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, cut its benchmark interest rate on Thursday for the first time since October 2012, on expectations inflation will ease after the economy grew at its slowest pace in four years in the first quarter. The central bank maintained banks' reserve requirement ratio (RRR) at 18 percent, but Governor Benjamin Diokno said it would be discussed next week, without elaborating. Bucking the regional trend, the Indonesian rupiah declined for a third straight session and was on track to record a weekly loss of 0.7%. Indonesia's current account deficit narrowed in the first quarter to the smallest in a year, helping the country to post a balance of payments surplus, but some economists say this would not trigger an interest rate cut by the central bank. THAI BAHT The Thai baht strengthened 0.4% on the day to its best level against the greenback since March 26. "The baht is being supported by clarity on the election outcome even though concerns remain in the medium term, as the new government is made of many small parties," Christopher Wong, a senior FX Strategist at Maybank said. Long-delayed results of Thailand's first election since a 2014 military coup released on Wednesday produced no clear winner but gave a pro-army party a clear advantage in its bid to install the current junta leader as an elected prime minister. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0642 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 109.770 109.75 -0.02 Sing dlr 1.363 1.3643 +0.12 Taiwan dlr 30.947 30.956 +0.03 Korean won 1177.000 1179.8 +0.24 Baht 31.640 31.7725 +0.42 Peso 52.140 52.25 +0.21 Rupiah 14350.000 14345 -0.03 Rupee 69.895 69.94 +0.06 Ringgit 4.154 4.152 -0.05 Yuan 6.806 6.8255 +0.29 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 109.770 109.56 -0.19 Sing dlr 1.363 1.3627 +0.01 Taiwan dlr 30.947 30.733 -0.69 Korean won 1177.000 1115.70 -5.21 Baht 31.640 32.55 +2.88 Peso 52.140 52.47 +0.63 Rupiah 14350.000 14375 +0.17 Rupee 69.895 69.77 -0.18 Ringgit 4.154 4.1300 -0.58 Yuan 6.806 6.8730 +0.99 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam Holmes)

Most Asian currencies slide on trade jitters

09 May 2019

Most emerging Asian currencies weakened on Thursday, with the South Korean won sliding to a more than two-year low as concerns about an escalation in trade tensions ahead of crucial U.S.-China talks hit exporter currencies.

EM ASIA FX-Most Asian currencies weaken as worries on U.S.-China trade talks rise

08 May 2019

* Yuan ends a four-day losing streak * Thai baht strengthens ahead of c.bank meeting * China April exports contract, while imports rise (Adds text, updates prices) By Shriya Ramakrishnan May 8 Most emerging Asian currencies weakened on Wednesday, as fresh doubts about whether the United States and China can end their trade war rekindled worries about global growth. Beijing said on Tuesday that Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will travel to Washington for two days of talks starting on Thursday, setting up a last-ditch bid for a deal that would avoid a sharp increase in tariffs on Chinese goods ordered by U.S. President Donald Trump. The higher tariffs are scheduled to take effect on Friday, when Liu would be in Washington. The South Korean won on Wednesday weakened as much as 0.5 percent to 1,172.50 against the dollar. South Korea's finance minister flagged increasing downside risks for his country, a further sign of weakness for Asia's fourth largest economy following a sharp contraction in first quarter growth and sluggish exports. Sim Moh Siong, an FX strategist at Bank of Singapore, said sentiment in Asia is "still one of wariness that if trade tensions escalate, there could be a further round of weakness in Asian currencies". "Markets are trying to make out whether we are likely to see a replay of a tale of two halves or is everything going to collapse into a situation where it is not quite clear whether the U.S. dollar will emerge as the winner if the trade war escalates." The Indian rupee weakened 0.3 percent to its lowest level in more than a week, while the Indonesian rupiah declined 0.2 percent. Data released on Wednesday showed China's exports unexpectedly shrank in April but imports surprised with their first increase in five months, painting a mixed picture of the health of the Chinese economy. However, the yuan snapped four days of losses to edge up against the dollar, supported by a rise in corporate dollar selling after China's central bank set a firmer midpoint. The Thai baht, bucking the regional trend, strengthened 0.4 percent to its best level in three weeks, ahead of a central bank meeting that is widely expected to keep the benchmark rate unchanged for a third straight review. The Philippine peso edged lower, ahead of Thursday's release of first quarter growth data and a central bank decision. With inflation slowing for a sixth consecutive month in April, there are growing expectations that Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas will ease monetary policy. SINGAPORE DOLLAR The Singapore dollar appreciated 0.2 percent against the dollar on the day. "The Singapore dollar is a safe haven currency in Southeast Asia and so there is definitely some demand due to the tremendous uncertainties around U.S.-China trade negotiations," Margaret Yang Yan, a market analyst at CMC Markets said. Singapore's central bank said on Wednesday it would disclose more information on the actions it takes to implement monetary policy, including releasing data on foreign exchange intervention every six months. The Monetary Authority of Singapore manages policy through exchange rate settings rather than interest rates. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0521 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Change on the day at 0521 GMT Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 109.990 110.24 +0.23 Sing dlr 1.360 1.3626 +0.16 Taiwan dlr 30.912 30.911 -0.00 Korean won 1168.900 1166.5 -0.21 Baht 31.770 31.89 +0.38 Peso 52.020 52.01 -0.02 Rupiah 14308.000 14275 -0.23 Rupee 69.605 69.43 -0.26 Ringgit 4.146 4.147 +0.02 Yuan 6.771 6.7780 +0.11 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 109.990 109.56 -0.39 Sing dlr 1.360 1.3627 +0.17 Taiwan dlr 30.912 30.733 -0.58 Korean won 1168.900 1115.70 -4.55 Baht 31.770 32.55 +2.46 Peso 52.020 52.47 +0.87 Rupiah 14308.000 14375 +0.47 Rupee 69.605 69.77 +0.24 Ringgit 4.146 4.1300 -0.39 Yuan 6.771 6.8730 +1.51 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru)

EM ASIA FX-Most Asian currencies firm on hopes for China-U.S. talks, baht leads gains

07 May 2019

* Thai baht is the region's biggest gainer * Yuan extends declines for a fourth session * Malaysia market awaits c.bank rate decision (Adds text, updates prices) By Shriya Ramakrishnan May 7 Most emerging Asian currencies rose against the dollar on Tuesday, on hopes trade negotiations between the United States and China will resume this week and make progress in spite of President Donald Trump's threat to raise tariffs on more Chinese goods. China's foreign ministry has confirmed that a Chinese delegation is preparing to go to United States for talks. Trump's threats to raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods and target hundreds of billions more soon roiled Asian financial markets on Monday. "Markets may be looking at U.S.-China negotiations from a glass half-full perspective," Chang Wei Liang, an FX strategist at Mizuho Bank said. "The response from the Chinese side has been quite muted - they haven't cancelled trade talks with Washington so there is a chance they can find some common ground to defer implementation of tariffs for a second time." The South Korean won, trading again after a holiday on Monday, strengthened 0.1 percent against the greenback, while the Singapore dollar edged higher. The Malaysian ringgit barely moved ahead of the central bank policy decision due at 0700 GMT. A slim majority of analysts in a Reuters poll forecast Malaysia will to cut its benchmark rate by 25 basis points to 3.00 percent to cope with slowing growth. The Malaysian government has already cut growth forecasts for the year and projected a drop in export expansion, as it continues to face risks from slowing global growth and the U.S.-China trade war. The Philippine peso moved in and out of positive territory after data showed annual inflation slowed for a sixth consecutive month in April, reinforcing views the central bank will loosen its grip on monetary policy to support economic growth. China's yuan weakened for a fourth straight session, shedding 0.3 percent to the dollar. Prior to market opening, China's central bank lowered its official yuan midpoint to a fresh 2-1/2-month low at 6.7614 per dollar. THAI BAHT The Thai baht which resumed trading after a holiday, strengthened 0.4 percent against the dollar, the biggest intraday gain in more than a month. Chang of Mizuho said that with uncertainties over a U.S.-China trade deal, manufacturers may be looking to diversify production away from China, and Thailand could be one of the beneficiaries. The baht remains emerging Asia's top performing currency this year, after outperforming peers in 2018. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0540 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 110.620 110.76 +0.13 Sing dlr 1.362 1.3630 +0.04 Taiwan dlr 30.908 30.925 +0.06 Korean won 1168.500 1170 +0.13 Baht 31.890 32.02 +0.41 Peso 51.910 51.92 +0.02 Rupiah 14300.000 14290 -0.07 Rupee 69.380 69.41 +0.04 Ringgit 4.146 4.146 +0.00 Yuan 6.780 6.7622 -0.26 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 110.620 109.56 -0.96 Sing dlr 1.362 1.3627 +0.02 Taiwan dlr 30.908 30.733 -0.57 Korean won 1168.500 1115.70 -4.52 Baht 31.890 32.55 +2.07 Peso 51.910 52.47 +1.08 Rupiah 14300.000 14375 +0.52 Rupee 69.380 69.77 +0.56 Ringgit 4.146 4.1300 -0.39 Yuan 6.780 6.8730 +1.37 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru, Editing by Richard Borsuk)

EM ASIA FX-Most inch higher tracking yuan; US growth data in focus

26 Apr 2019

* S.Korean won falls for 5th straight day * Yuan poised for 0.5 pct weekly decline * Singapore March factory output contracts (Adds text, updates prices) By Shriya Ramakrishnan April 26 Most emerging Asian currencies edged higher on Friday, tracking the Chinese yuan, but a strong dollar ahead of U.S. growth data capped the upside. The yuan recovered from a more than two-month low hit in the previous session, rising as much as 0.4 percent against the dollar, after President Xi Jinping's pledge to keep the currency stable. China will not resort to currency depreciation and will "continue to improve exchange rate formation mechanism" to keep the currency "basically stable at reasonable and balanced levels", Xi said at a summit on the Belt and Road initiative. Dominic Schnider, head of commodities and APAC Forex, UBS Wealth Management, said a stable yuan had positive ramifications for Asian currencies. Asian currencies have largely been under pressure this week due to broad dollar strength on the back of upbeat U.S. economic data. The dollar index versus a basket of six key rivals stood at 98.123 after advancing to 98.322 on Thursday, its highest since May 2017. The currency market's focus is now on the U.S. GDP data, which could reinforce bullishness about the world's top economy after a slew of numbers this week pointed at an improved outlook. A Reuters poll has forecast that the U.S. economy will record a 2 percent growth in the first quarter, slightly slower than the 2.2 percent posted in the previous quarter. Developments in trade talks between the world's top two economies will also be closely watched after U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he would soon host Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the White House, setting the stage for a possible agreement. The Thai baht and the Indian rupee both strengthened 0.2 percent. While a slight dip in oil prices after continued gains provided some respite to the rupee, a consistent rise in the dollar index remains a matter of concern, said Rushabh Maru, a currency and commodity analyst with Anand Rathi Shares and Stock Brokers. Indonesia's rupiah depreciated slightly against the dollar and was poised to record a weekly loss of 1 percent. Bank Indonesia kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged for a fifth month on Thursday to contain external pressures, though it is aiming for looser market liquidity and relaxed rules on trading in domestic non-deliverable forwards. Gains in the Singapore dollar were limited after data showed industrial production in March fell from a year earlier as expected, due to a plunge in electronics output. The South Korean won weakened for a fifth straight session and was headed for a weekly loss of 2.2 percent, hurt primarily by lingering concerns over the state of economy. Asia's fourth-largest unexpectedly shrank in the first quarter, marking its worst performance since the global financial crisis, as companies slashed investment and exports slumped. The Taiwan dollar edged lower against the dollar. Taiwan's economy is expected to slow in the first quarter as technology manufacturers were hit by weak global demand and persisting concerns over the Sino-U.S. trade war, a Reuters poll showed. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0528 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 111.690 111.62 -0.06 Sing dlr 1.362 1.3627 +0.08 Taiwan dlr 30.909 30.905 -0.01 Korean won 1161.700 1160.5 -0.10 Baht 32.010 32.07 +0.19 Peso 52.150 52.18 +0.06 Rupiah 14185.000 14180 -0.04 Rupee 70.110 70.25 +0.20 Ringgit 4.131 4.134 +0.07 Yuan 6.734 6.7448 +0.16 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 111.690 109.56 -1.91 Sing dlr 1.362 1.3627 +0.08 Taiwan dlr 30.909 30.733 -0.57 Korean won 1161.700 1115.70 -3.96 Baht 32.010 32.55 +1.69 Peso 52.150 52.47 +0.61 Rupiah 14185.000 14375 +1.34 Rupee 70.110 69.77 -0.48 Ringgit 4.131 4.1300 -0.02 Yuan 6.734 6.8730 +2.06 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru, Additional reporting by Shreya Mariam Job; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies slip as U.S. data bolsters dollar

24 Apr 2019

* South Korean won leads declines * Thai baht at over 3-month low * Malaysia's March CPI up 0.2 y/y, below forecast (Adds text, updates prices) By Shriya Ramakrishnan April 24 Most emerging Asian currencies broadly weakened on Wednesday, with the South Korean won sliding to a more than 1-1/2-year low, as robust U.S. economic data supported the greenback. The market's appetite for dollars was boosted after data on Tuesday showed sales of new U.S. single-family homes jumped to a near 1-1/2-year high in March, easing concerns of a sharp slowdown in the world's largest economy. The dollar index, a gauge of its value against a basket of six key rivals, stood at 97.660 after rising to 97.777 overnight, hovering near a 22-month peak. Leading declines in the region, the South Korean won depreciated 0.6 percent to 1,149.20 per dollar, in tandem with the domestic equity benchmark index. Asia's fourth-largest economy is due to release first quarter growth figures on Thursday, which is expected to have slowed to its weakest pace in more than a year, a Reuters poll showed, as it continues to grapple with sluggish exports and muted inflation. Among other regional players, the Thai baht weakened as much as 0.4 percent to 32.045 per dollar, touching its weakest point since Jan. 9, while the Indian rupee eased 0.3 percent. The baht, which began the year on a strong footing and outperformed most of its regional peers has weakened 0.9 percent so far this month, amid continuing uncertainty surrounding its election at the end of March. Final results of the Thai election will be announced on May 9. The Malaysian ringgit declined 0.2 percent after data showed consumer prices in March rose 0.2 percent from a year earlier, below analyst forecasts for 0.3 percent growth. The index was negative in January and February. Meanwhile, the Chinese yuan edged higher and was the sole outlier on the day bolstered by improving views of the world's second-largest economy as the government maintained targeted policy support. China's central bank extended 267.4 billion yuan ($39.8 billion) to some commercial banks on Wednesday via its targeted medium-term lending facility to ensure struggling smaller companies will have continued access to affordable financing. However, the central bank put the lending facility's one-year interest rate at 3.15 percent, the same as the previous operation. RUPIAH DIPS The Indonesian rupiah weakened 0.3 percent, ahead of the central bank meeting on Thursday, where it is expected to keep rates on hold. Bank Indonesia (BI) governor Perry Warjiyo said on Tuesday that policies will be maintained towards controlling the country's widening current account deficit and keeping its financial assets attractive for investors. "Given that pressures to the rupiah have eased and inflation has slowed to the weakest level since 2000, the only factor that needs to be watched further are the trade balance and current account," DBS Bank said in a note. Southeast Asia's largest economy had resorted to the most rigorous rate hike cycle last year to defend the rupiah amid pressure from rising U.S. interest rates and foreign outflows. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0518 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 111.820 111.86 +0.04 Sing dlr 1.359 1.3566 -0.19 Taiwan dlr 30.864 30.858 -0.02 Korean won 1149.200 1141.8 -0.64 Baht 32.010 31.93 -0.25 Peso 52.180 52.06 -0.23 Rupiah 14105.000 14070 -0.25 Rupee 69.845 69.62 -0.32 Ringgit 4.131 4.125 -0.15 Yuan 6.723 6.7278 +0.08 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 111.820 109.56 -2.02 Sing dlr 1.359 1.3627 +0.26 Taiwan dlr 30.864 30.733 -0.42 Korean won 1149.200 1115.70 -2.92 Baht 32.010 32.55 +1.69 Peso 52.180 52.47 +0.56 Rupiah 14105.000 14375 +1.91 Rupee 69.845 69.77 -0.11 Ringgit 4.131 4.1300 -0.02 Yuan 6.723 6.8730 +2.24 ($1 = 1,148.9500 won) (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

EM ASIA FX-High oil prices hit some Asian currencies, others eke out gains

23 Apr 2019

* Oil prices near 2019 highs * Rupiah, rupee weaken for a second session * Singapore March core inflation eases to 1.4 pct (Adds text, updates prices) By Shriya Ramakrishnan April 23 The currencies of Indonesia and India fell on Tuesday, as the two countries face higher oil import bills due to global energy market developments, while most other regional ones eked out tiny gains. Oil prices rallied after the United States on Monday demanded that buyers of Iranian oil stop purchases by May 1 or face sanctions, ending six months of waivers that allowed Iran's eight biggest buyers to continue importing limited volumes. The Indonesian rupiah and the Indian rupee led declines in the region, weakening between 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively. India's central bank will conduct its second dollar-rupee swap auction of $5 billion on Tuesday, following a round last month in a bid to boost liquidity and prevent a sharp appreciation in the rupee. In Indonesia, Southeast Asia's largest economy, market focus will be on Thursday's central bank meeting, which is widely expected to keep rates on hold. Some analysts expect multiple rate cuts later this year. The Malaysian ringgit was marginally higher, ahead of March inflation data on Wednesday. Malaysia's consumer prices are expected to edge up in March, following two months of deflation, according to a Reuters poll. The consumer price index turned negative in January for the first time since November 2009 amid a sharp drop in retail fuel costs. However, the central bank expects inflation to be higher on average this year after benign cost pressures in 2018. The Malaysian central bank and securities commission said on Tuesday that the country's financial markets have remained resilient with support from ample domestic liquidity and strong fundamentals. The joint statement followed one last week's from FTSE Russell, a global bond index provider, that it could drop Malaysia from the FTSE World Government Bond Index over concerns about market accessibility and liquidity. The Philippines suspended foreign exchange trading and a treasury bond auction on Tuesday due to the impact of Monday's 6.1 magnitude earthquake that hit the main island of Luzon, causing disruption in Manila and nearby provinces. The Philippine peso was flat in light offshore trading. SINGAPORE INFLATION IN FOCUS The Singapore dollar edged lower after data issued on Tuesday showed that core inflation in March was below expectations, easing to its lowest level in almost a year. "Given the fact that the Monetary Authority of Singapore has ended the tightening cycle, there is not a lot of expectations for change in monetary policy in the near to midterm," said Margaret Yang Yan, a market analyst at CMC Markets Singapore. Earlier this month, Singapore revised down its 2019 core inflation and kept monetary settings unchanged after two consecutive rounds of tightening as policymakers expect slower growth and inflation in the city-state in the face of 'significant' global economic risks. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0554 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Change on the day at 0554 GMT Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 111.900 111.93 +0.03 Sing dlr 1.356 1.3559 -0.02 Taiwan dlr 30.846 30.856 +0.03 Korean won 1141.800 1141.5 -0.03 Baht 31.890 31.86 -0.09 Peso 52.010 52.01 +0.00 Rupiah 14080.000 14070 -0.07 Rupee 69.788 69.67 -0.17 Ringgit 4.126 4.13 +0.10 Yuan 6.715 6.7122 -0.05 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 111.900 109.56 -2.09 Sing dlr 1.356 1.3627 +0.48 Taiwan dlr 30.846 30.733 -0.37 Korean won 1141.800 1115.70 -2.29 Baht 31.890 32.55 +2.07 Peso 52.010 52.47 +0.88 Rupiah 14080.000 14375 +2.10 Rupee 69.788 69.77 -0.03 Ringgit 4.126 4.1300 +0.10 Yuan 6.715 6.8730 +2.35 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Borsuk)

EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies slip on higher oil prices

22 Apr 2019

* Philippine peso top decliner in the region * Indian rupee at over 1-month low * Thai March exports fall 4.88 pct y/y (Adds text, updates prices) By Shriya Ramakrishnan April 22 Emerging Asian currencies faltered on Monday after a rally in oil prices dented sentiment for the region's net importers, with the Philippine peso weakening to its lowest level in nearly two weeks. Oil prices jumped to their highest since late 2018 on news the United States is likely to ask all importers of Iranian oil to end their purchases or face U.S. sanctions. A source confirmed to Reuters a report by the Washington Post that the administration will terminate the sanctions waivers it granted to some importers of Iranian oil late last year. In November, the U.S. reimposed sanctions on exports of Iranian oil after President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled out of a 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and six world powers. China, India, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan were among the eight main buyers of Iranian oil that were granted waivers to the sanctions that allowed them limited purchases for six months. The Indian rupee weakened 0.5 percent to 69.73 against dollar, touching its weakest point since March 11, while the Philippine peso traded 0.7 percent lower. The Thai baht eased 0.2 percent, after data showed the country's customs-cleared exports fell 4.88 percent in March, after unexpectedly increasing in February, due to falling shipments of electronics - a key driver of Thai growth. Thailand's central bank governor said that economic growth for the year should be on track if the next government can be formed by June. The outcome of Thailand's first elections since a 2014 coup remains uncertain, and might not be known until after official results are due on May 9. The Taiwan dollar was largely flat, ahead of export orders data for March. A Reuters poll showed that Taiwan's export orders likely declined for a fifth month in March, as a prolonged downturn in global tech demand has hurt manufacturers in the trade-reliant economy. S. KOREAN WON PRESSURED Dismal trade data and fears of tension in the Korean peninsula weighed on the won on Monday, pulling it down 0.5 percent to 1,142.70 against the dollar. Trade data released earlier in the session showed the country's exports for the first 20 days of April shrank 8.7 percent from a year earlier. "The South Korean won could see more selling on increased geopolitical risks, as North Korea rejects further negotiations with U.S. Secretary of State (Mike) Pompeo, and even conducted a new tactical guided weapon test," Mizuho Bank said in a note. Pompeo said on Friday that diplomatic efforts will continue toward the goal of denuclearization of North Korea, a day after a North Korean official said it no longer wanted to deal with him in talks. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0526 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 111.930 111.91 -0.02 Sing dlr 1.356 1.3549 -0.11 Taiwan dlr 30.851 30.842 -0.03 Korean won 1142.700 1136.9 -0.51 Baht 31.880 31.82 -0.19 Peso 52.040 51.67 -0.71 Rupiah 14085.000 14040 -0.32 Rupee 69.730 69.36 -0.54 Ringgit 4.135 4.13 -0.12 Yuan 6.713 6.7049 -0.12 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 111.930 109.56 -2.12 Sing dlr 1.356 1.3627 +0.46 Taiwan dlr 30.851 30.733 -0.38 Korean won 1142.700 1115.70 -2.36 Baht 31.880 32.55 +2.10 Peso 52.040 52.47 +0.83 Rupiah 14085.000 14375 +2.06 Rupee 69.730 69.77 +0.06 Ringgit 4.135 4.1300 -0.12 Yuan 6.713 6.8730 +2.39 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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)

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