February 3, 2014 / 5:43 AM / 4 years ago

EM ASIA FX-Thai vote gives brief reprieve to baht; rupiah up after solid trade data

* Short-covering lifts baht; political concerns remain
    * Indonesia Dec trade surplus at $1.52 bln
    * Won down on offshore funds, stocks, catch-up plays

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Jongwoo Cheon
    SINGAPORE, Feb 3 (Reuters) - The Thai baht bounced on Monday
after a surprisingly peaceful election over the weekend
triggered short-covering, though   plans to continue efforts to
topple Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and stress in emerging
markets tempered the gains.
    The Indonesian rupiah turned higher after a
stronger-than-expected December trade surplus with exports
growth topping expectations. 
    The baht rose 0.3 percent to 32.89 per dollar as of
0450 GMT, as investors cut bearish bets after the vote on
Sunday, traders said. 
    Bangkok shares rose 1.1 percent, outperforming most
regional stocks. Five- and 10-year government bond yields
  also fell.
    Elections passed off peacefully, but the disrupted vote is
unlikely to settle Thailand's long-running political conflicts. 
   Anti-government protesters planned to forge ahead on Monday
with efforts to topple Shinawatra. 
    "It is a good chance to sell the baht as the election does
not mean it's over. It will take longer" to resolve the
political problems, said a Thai bank trader in Bangkok, adding
the baht is unlikely to decisively break 32.90.
    "A strong dollar theme is still intact with concerns about
emerging markets," the trader said.
    Foreign investors sold a combined net 13.7 billion baht
($415.0 million) in stocks last month, according to Thomson
Reuters data.
    "Thailand remains a regional political hotspot with the
weekend elections still not expected to impart significant
visibility on this front," OCBC Bank said in a client note.
    Some analysts recommend selling the baht around 32.60-32.70
for a target of 33.35-33.40. The 61.8 percent Fibonacci
retracement of the baht's appreciation between 2009 and 2013
sits around 33.34 
    
    RUPIAH
    The rupiah turned higher after data showed Indonesia posted
a bigger-than-expected trade surplus of $1.52 billion in
December.
    The strong data prompted some foreign banks to buy the
rupiah with its one-month non-deliverable forwards 
moving up against the dollar.
    The rupiah earlier fell on dollar demand from local
companies, while the central bank was spotted intervening around
the session low of 12,250 per dollar, traders said.
    The official Jakarta Interbank Spot Dollar Rate (JISDOR)
, which the central bank launched last year in an
effort to manage exchange rate fluctuations, was fixed at 12,251
rupiah per dollar, weaker than the prior session's 12,226.
    
    WON
    The South Korean won fell on selling by  offshore
funds in sympathy with foreign investors unloading Seoul shares
.
    The South Korean currency was playing catch-up to a selloff
in regional peers after the U.S. Federal Reserve cut another $10
billion in its monthly bond-buying programme. Domestic markets
were closed on Wednesday and Thursday for the Lunar New Year.
    Exporters bought the won for settlements on dips, but the
currency is unlikely to rebound for now, traders said.
    "The won has room to weaken further as many are still
looking to sell it around 1,078, but the losses may be contained
given that some already hold long-dollar positions," said a
South Korean bank trader in Seoul.
    
    CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR
    Change on the day at 0450 GMT
  Currency    Latest bid   Previous day    Pct Move
  Japan yen       102.34         102.01       -0.32
  Sing dlr        1.2773         1.2771       -0.02
 *Taiwan dlr      30.350         30.376       +0.09
  Korean won     1082.60        1070.40       -1.13
  Baht             32.89          33.00       +0.33
  Peso             45.39          45.32       -0.15
  Rupiah        12200.00       12205.00       +0.04
  Rupee            62.61          62.68       +0.11
 *Ringgit         3.3450         3.3465       +0.04
 *Yuan            6.0600         6.0600        0.00
 
  Change so far in 2014
  Currency    Latest bid  End prev year    Pct Move
  Japan yen       102.34         105.28       +2.87
  Sing dlr        1.2773         1.2632       -1.10
  Taiwan dlr      30.350         29.950       -1.32
  Korean won     1082.60        1055.40       -2.51
  Baht             32.89          32.86       -0.09
  Peso             45.39          44.40       -2.19
  Rupiah        12200.00       12160.00       -0.33
  Rupee            62.61          61.80       -1.29
  Ringgit         3.3450         3.2755       -2.08
  Yuan            6.0600         6.0539       -0.10
 * Financial markets in China, Malaysia and Taiwan are closed
for holidays.
($1 = 33.01 baht)

 (Additional reporting by Yena Park in SEOUL; Editing by Shri
Navaratnam)

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