January 11, 2017 / 4:42 AM / 6 months ago

EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies steady to firmer; focus on Trump

4 Min Read

* Yuan, ringgit, rupiah and won hold steady
    * Singapore dollar, Taiwan dollar and baht edge higher
    * Eyes on US President-elect Donald Trump's news conference

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    SINGAPORE, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies were
steady to firmer on Wednesday, with investors awaiting a news
conference by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump for further
clues on his economic policies and the direction of the
greenback.
    After gaining some respite this month as a short-covering
rally in the offshore Chinese yuan triggered some buying back of
Asian currencies, the focus now is on Trump's news conference
due later on Wednesday.
    Asian currencies will be especially sentitive to what Trump
says about China, said Kota Hirayama, senior economist for SMBC
Nikko Securities in Tokyo.
    "As long as Trump doesn't say anything extremely harsh
against China, the impact on Asian currencies may be limited,"
Hirayama said, regarding the near-term outlook.
    During the election campaign, Trump threatened to brand
China a currency manipulator on his first day in office on Jan.
20 and slap high tariffs on Chinese goods sold to the United
States.
    Asian currencies are likely to come under renewed pressure
if the United States takes a hardline stance against China on
trade, which would raise concerns about the outlook for other
export-reliant Asian economies, he added.
    Asian currencies have retreated broadly over the past couple
of months as U.S. bond yields jumped on expectations that
Trump's proposals for infrastructure spending and tax cuts will
prop up U.S. economic growth and inflation.

    SOUTH KOREAN WON
    The won was supported by dollar-selling by foreign players
and foreign demand for South Korean shares. 
    South Korean equities touched their highest level
since July 2015 at one point and were last up 1.4 percent on the
day.
    Expectations that fourth-quarter earnings among South Korean
firms would be stronger helped give a lift to the equity market.
 

    CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR 
  Change on the day at   0416 GMT                    
  Currency               Latest bid   Previous    Pct
                                           day   Move
  Japan yen                  116.10     115.78  -0.28
  Sing dlr                   1.4355     1.4362  +0.05
  Taiwan dlr                 31.891     31.948  +0.18
  Korean won                1195.03    1194.60  -0.04
  Baht                        35.58      35.60  +0.06
  Peso                       49.540     49.505  -0.07
  Rupiah                      13308      13310  +0.02
  Rupee                       68.26      68.19  -0.11
  Ringgit                    4.4730     4.4730  +0.00
  Yuan                       6.9251     6.9245  -0.01
                                                     
  Change so                                          
 far in 2017                                    
  Currency               Latest bid   End prev    Pct
                                          year   Move
  Japan yen                  116.10     117.07  +0.84
  Sing dlr                   1.4355     1.4490  +0.94
  Taiwan dlr                 31.891     32.279  +1.22
  Korean won                1195.03    1207.70  +1.06
  Baht                        35.58      35.80  +0.63
  Peso                        49.54      49.72  +0.36
  Rupiah                      13308      13470  +1.22
  Rupee                       68.26      67.92  -0.50
  Ringgit                    4.4730     4.4845  +0.26
  Yuan                       6.9251     6.9467  +0.31
 
 (Reporting by Masayuki Kitano; Additional reporting by Dahee
Kim in SEOUL and IFR Markets' Catherine Tan; Editing by Kim
Coghill)

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