* Most Asian currencies edge lower vs dollar
* Dollar hits 9-day high vs basket of major currencies
* Rupee pares gains after hitting highest since Oct 2015
(Updates prices, adds text)
SINGAPORE, March 30 Most Asian currencies edged
lower versus the dollar on Thursday, as weakness in the euro
helped bolster the greenback, with China's yuan touching its
lowest level in nearly a week.
The Chinese yuan slipped to 6.8956 per U.S.
dollar at one point, its lowest level since last Friday. It
later pared its losses and was little changed on the day.
Several other Asian currencies edged lower, with the South
Korean won shedding 0.4 percent.
The Indian rupee, which has strengthened recently
on the back of inflows into Indian assets, touched its highest
level since October 2015 at 64.84 per U.S. dollar but later
pulled back and was last steady on the day at 64.94.
Asian currencies and the dollar now seem to be caught
between uncertainty about the outlook for U.S. fiscal policies
such as tax reforms on the one hand, and expectations for
further Federal Reserve interest rate hikes on the other, said
Teppei Ino, analyst for Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ in
While political factors could weigh on the dollar, the
prospects for further Fed rate hikes on firm U.S. economic
growth is supportive of the greenback, Ino said.
Earlier this week, the dollar had gained a lift after
comments from Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer reinforced
expectations of more U.S. rate hikes to come.
The greenback's firm tone weighed on Asian currencies on
The dollar touched its highest level since March 21 against
a basket of major currencies, with the euro weighed down after
sources told Reuters that European Central Bank policymakers are
wary of changing their policy message in April.
Small tweaks at the ECB's meeting earlier in March had
raised expectations of the central bank ending its super-easy
policy and eventually raising interest rates.
The rupee was boosted this month by foreign investment
flowing into Indian assets.
Foreign investors have bought a net $6.91 billion in debt
and equities so far this month on hopes of an improving economy
and optimism over Prime Minister Narendra Modi's reform process
after his victory in the key northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
In Indian equities alone, overseas investors are set for
their biggest monthly purchases in four years in March, but
analysts expect such equity inflows to moderate after a major
overhaul of tax rules kicks in on April 1.
CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR
Change on the day at 0557 GMT
Currency Latest bid Previous Pct
Japan yen 111.18 111.05 -0.12
Sing dlr 1.3956 1.3940 -0.11
Taiwan dlr 30.326 30.285 -0.14
Korean won 1118.60 1114.20 -0.39
Baht 34.49 34.43 -0.19
Peso 50.190 50.185 -0.01
Rupiah 13316 13312 -0.03
Rupee 64.94 64.92 -0.03
Ringgit 4.4185 4.4170 -0.03
Yuan 6.8925 6.8898 -0.04
far in 2017
Currency Latest bid End prev Pct
Japan yen 111.18 117.07 +5.30
Sing dlr 1.3956 1.4490 +3.83
Taiwan dlr 30.326 32.279 +6.44
Korean won 1118.60 1207.70 +7.97
Baht 34.49 35.80 +3.80
Peso 50.19 49.72 -0.94
Rupiah 13316 13470 +1.16
Rupee 64.94 67.92 +4.60
Ringgit 4.4185 4.4845 +1.49
Yuan 6.8925 6.9467 +0.79
(Reporting by Masayuki Kitano)