* Taiwan dollar hits highest since May 2015
* Thai baht, S.Korean won hits 5-month highs
* Dollar on defensive in wake of Fed meeting last week
* Fed's rate projections were less hawkish than expected
(Adds text, updates prices)
March 20 Asian currencies pushed higher on
Monday, as the dollar remained under pressure after the U.S.
Federal Reserve last week signalled fewer interest rate hikes
this year than some investors had expected.
The Taiwan dollar, hit its highest level in about
22 months at 30.465 per U.S. dollar, buoyed by foreign fund
The Thai baht rose to around 34.66 at one
point, its strongest level since early October. Dollar-selling
by foreign names and funds, as well as local exporters, helped
give a boost to the baht.
The South Korean won also touched a five-month
high of 1,121.1 per U.S. dollar.
Dollar bulls were disappointed last week after the Fed
raised interest rates as expected and stuck to its outlook for
three rate hikes in 2017, instead of the four some had grown to
"It's still dollar weakness. I think that's the persistent
theme," said Andy Ji, Asian currency strategist for Commonwealth
Bank of Australia.
Asian currencies are generally supported by dollar weakness
and positive risk sentiment after last week's Fed meeting, as
well as growing expectations that monetary policies around the
world could become more synchronised, including possible policy
tightening by central banks in Asia, Ji said.
The dollar's pullback after last week's Fed meeting partly
reflects market positioning, market participants said.
The market is continuing to offload long positions in the
U.S. dollar, said a trader for a Malaysian bank in Kuala Lumpur.
Currency markets showed limited initial reaction to the
Group of 20 meeting over the weekend which retained the familiar
form of words on currency intervention but dropped a pledge to
avoid trade protectionism.
SOUTH KOREAN WON
One focus for the won's outlook this week is overseas
investors' stance toward South Korean equities, an analyst said.
"Foreign investors' demand for local equities will play a
great role in deciding the won's direction," said Jeong
My-young, a foreign exchange analyst at Samsung Futures.
As of Friday, foreign investors had been net buyers of South
Korean shares for 10 consecutive sessions, bringing their total
buying for the period to a net 2.60 trillion won ($2.30
CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR
Change on the day at 0414 GMT
Currency Latest bid Previous Pct
Japan yen 112.51 112.70 +0.17
Sing dlr 1.3982 1.4018 +0.26
Taiwan dlr 30.520 30.626 +0.35
Korean won 1122.70 1130.90 +0.73
Baht 34.71 34.85 +0.41
Peso 50.145 50.180 +0.07
Rupiah 13323 13342 +0.14
Rupee 65.46 65.46 +0.00
Ringgit 4.4315 4.4340 +0.06
Yuan 6.9040 6.9030 -0.01
far in 2017
Currency Latest bid End prev Pct
Japan yen 112.51 117.07 +4.05
Sing dlr 1.3982 1.4490 +3.63
Taiwan dlr 30.520 32.279 +5.76
Korean won 1122.70 1207.70 +7.57
Baht 34.71 35.80 +3.15
Peso 50.15 49.72 -0.85
Rupiah 13323 13470 +1.10
Rupee 65.46 67.92 +3.77
Ringgit 4.4315 4.4845 +1.20
Yuan 6.9040 6.9467 +0.62
(Reporting by Masayuki Kitano in Singapore; Editing by Sam
Holmes; Additional reporting by Faith Hung in Taipei, Dahee Kim
in Seoul and IFR Markets' Catherine Tan)