* Won hits 3-week low vs dollar, later trims losses
* Taiwan dollar and Thai baht edge lower
* But Indian rupee hits 20-month high
* Rupee stays firm after RBI's move to mop up liquidity
(Adds text, updates prices)
SINGAPORE, April 7 The South Korean won and
Taiwan dollar dropped to three-week lows against the U.S. dollar
on Friday, as investors turned to safe-haven assets after the
United States launched cruise missiles against an airbase in
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he ordered
missile strikes against a Syrian airfield from which a deadly
chemical weapons attack was launched.
The news triggered selling of riskier assets and emerging
market currencies, analysts said.
"The initial reaction was a risk-off, but it's not as if
such moves are getting worse and worse," said Masashi Murata,
currency strategist for Brown Brothers Harriman in Tokyo.
The South Korean won briefly weakened to as low
as 1,140.0 per U.S. dollar, its lowest level in more than three
weeks. It later pared most of its losses and was last down about
0.1 percent at 1,133.80.
The Taiwan dollar also hit a three-week low of
30.700, and was last down 0.2 percent at 30.627.
Other Asian currencies were little changed with the
exception of the Indian rupee, which touched its highest level
in about 20 months.
The rupee's gains came after India's central bank surprised
markets on Thursday by raising a secondary rate while holding
the key rate steady. The move was aimed at helping mop up
liquidity, signalling the central bank's growing worries about a
potential spike in inflation.
The rupee rose to as high as 64.32 per dollar, its
highest level since August 2015.
SINGAPORE'S MONETARY POLICY
Singapore's central bank is widely expected to keep policy
steady next week, with the economy seen on track to meet the
official full-year forecast despite an expected contraction in
the first quarter.
Eighteen of 19 analysts in a Reuters survey predicted that
the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) would keep its
exchange-rate based policy unchanged at its semiannual review
due on April 13, at 8 a.m. (0000 GMT).
The government's advance estimate of first-quarter GDP, due
at the same time, is expected to show the city-state's economy
shrank 1.9 percent from the previous three months on an
annualised basis, according to the median forecast in a Reuters
Investors increased their bullish bets on the Chinese yuan
, Singapore dollar and South Korean won in
the last two weeks as the U.S. dollar continued to struggle, a
Reuters poll showed.
Long positions in the Chinese yuan rose to their highest
since July 2015, according to the survey. Bullish bets on the
Singapore dollar rose to their highest in a year ahead
of the MAS policy decision.
CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR
Change on the day at 0508 GMT
Currency Latest bid Previous Pct
Japan yen 110.52 110.80 +0.25
Sing dlr 1.4018 1.4021 +0.02
Taiwan dlr 30.627 30.560 -0.22
Korean won 1133.80 1133.20 -0.05
Baht 34.61 34.52 -0.25
Peso 50.180 50.175 -0.01
Rupiah 13330 13333 +0.02
Rupee 64.41 64.52 +0.18
Ringgit 4.4350 4.4350 -0.00
Yuan 6.8996 6.8980 -0.02
far in 2017
Currency Latest bid End prev Pct
Japan yen 110.52 117.07 +5.93
Sing dlr 1.4018 1.4490 +3.37
Taiwan dlr 30.627 32.279 +5.39
Korean won 1133.80 1207.70 +6.52
Baht 34.61 35.80 +3.46
Peso 50.18 49.72 -0.92
Rupiah 13330 13470 +1.05
Rupee 64.41 67.92 +5.46
Ringgit 4.4350 4.4845 +1.12
Yuan 6.8996 6.9467 +0.68
(Reporting by Masayuki Kitano; Additional reporting by Reuters
FX analyst Ewen Chew; Editing by Randy Fabi)