March 29, 2017 / 4:14 AM / 5 months ago

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

 (Updates prices, adds text)
    * Asian currencies pause after recent rally
    * Baht, Philippine peso, yuan edge lower
    * Taiwan dollar slips from 29-month high
    * Won supported by local exporters' dollar sales

    SINGAPORE, March 29 (Reuters) - Asian currencies sagged on
Wednesday as solid U.S. economic data backed expectations for
Federal Reserve rate hikes this year, giving a lift to U.S. bond
yields and the dollar.
    Asian currencies had rallied earlier in the week as the
dollar took a hit after U.S. President Donald Trump failed to
push through a healthcare reform bill last week, raising doubts
about his ability to deliver pro-growth fiscal policies.
    The gains in Asian currencies have sputtered, however, as
the greenback was bolstered by data on Tuesday that showed U.S.
consumer confidence hitting a 16-year high and comments from Fed
Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer that reinforced expectations of
more U.S. rate hikes to come.
    The Taiwan dollar eased 0.2 percent and pulled back
from a 29-month high of 30.115 per U.S. dollar set on Tuesday.
    Most other Asian currencies also inched lower, including the
Chinese yuan and the Philippine peso.
    In the wake of the recent gains in Asian currencies, some
technical indicators suggest that caution may be needed on their
near-term outlook, said Philip Wee, senior currency economist
for DBS Bank.
    "The improvement in the external outlook has helped Asian
currencies in the first quarter of 2017, especially...South
Korean won, Taiwan dollar and Singapore dollar," Wee said.
    "Several technical indicators are cautioning me against
pushing for more gains here," he added.
    For example, the U.S. dollar's recent drop against the
Singapore dollar stalled near the 200-day moving average, and
the greenback may also find support against the Taiwan dollar at
the psychologically key 30.000 level, Wee said.
    If that level is breached, however, analysts say momentum
players could step in and sell the U.S. dollar, triggering
further gains in the Taiwan dollar.    
     
    KOREAN WON
    The South Korean won was supported by dollar-selling by
local exporters. 
    The won eased 0.1 percent, inching away from 
Tuesday's high of 1,110.5 per U.S. dollar, which was the won's
strongest level since Oct. 11.  
    "Though the U.S. economic indicator pointed to a boost in
the economy there, most of the market players seem to believe
the dollar can turn weaker at any time," said Park Sung-woo, a
foreign exchange analyst at NH Futures.
       
    THAILAND'S MONETARY POLICY 
    Thailand's central bank, facing hurdles to changing monetary
policy, on Wednesday will likely keep its benchmark rate where
it has been for nearly two years, letting government spending
aid the trade-dependent economy.
    All 24 economists polled by Reuters forecast the Bank of
Thailand (BOT)'s one-day repurchase rate will be
kept at 1.50 percent when its monetary policy committee (MPC)
meets.
    The baht was down 0.3 percent versus the dollar
ahead of the monetary policy decision. 
    
    CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR
  Change on the day at   0356 GMT                   
  Currency              Latest bid   Previous    Pct
                                          day   Move
  Japan yen                 111.23     111.12  -0.10
  Sing dlr                  1.3974     1.3977  +0.02
  Taiwan dlr                30.215     30.170  -0.15
  Korean won               1114.30    1113.00  -0.12
  Baht                       34.53      34.44  -0.26
  Peso                      50.235     50.180  -0.11
  Rupiah                     13320      13309  -0.08
  Rupee                      64.94      65.04  +0.14
  Ringgit                   4.4200     4.4140  -0.14
  Yuan                      6.8910     6.8820  -0.13
                                                    
  Change so                                         
 far in 2017                                   
  Currency              Latest bid   End prev    Pct
                                         year   Move
  Japan yen                 111.23     117.07  +5.25
  Sing dlr                  1.3974     1.4490  +3.69
  Taiwan dlr                30.215     32.279  +6.83
  Korean won               1114.30    1207.70  +8.38
  Baht                       34.53      35.80  +3.69
  Peso                       50.24      49.72  -1.03
  Rupiah                     13320      13470  +1.13
  Rupee                      64.94      67.92  +4.58
  Ringgit                   4.4200     4.4845  +1.46
  Yuan                      6.8910     6.9467  +0.81
 
 (Reporting by Masayuki Kitano; Additional reporting by Kim
Dahee in Seoul and Reuters FX analyst Ewen Chew; Editing by Kim
Coghill)
  
 
 

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