October 23, 2019 / 6:36 AM / 3 months ago

EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies slip as Brexit pause dents risk appetite

    * Some Asian currencies gain against the pound
    * Dollar firms, as U.S. bond prices rise 
    * South Korean won leads losses ahead of GDP data on

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Nikhil Nainan
    Oct 23 (Reuters) - A global shift into less risky assets
weighed on most Asian currencies on Wednesday, and propped up
the U.S. dollar, as new hurdles over Britain's departure from
the European Union kept investors on edge.
    U.S. Treasury yields dropped overnight as investors bought
safe-haven debt after British lawmakers on Tuesday voted against
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's tight timetable to leave the EU,
but agreed to his Brexit plan.
    The latest defeat effectively makes it near to impossible
for Johnson to stick to his Oct. 31 deadline for Britain to
leave the EU with a deal. 
    Despite dollar strength, some Asian units gained against the
pound, which edged lower against the uncertain backdrop.
    The Chinese yuan gained 0.3% against the pound,
while the peso advanced 0.2% to sterling.
    Elsewhere, consumer prices in Malaysia rose at a slower pace
than expected in September, reinforcing some views that the
country's central bank may cut interest rates again this
    "While inflation continues to be subdued, some weak signals
emerged recently from the Malaysian economy, which had otherwise
been outperforming the region," ING said in a note prior to the
data, adding that there may be a pre-emptive cut this quarter. 
    The ringgit eased 0.1% against the dollar. 
    Not far away, Singapore's core inflation rate rose slightly
less in September than it did the previous month, hitting a more
than three-year low. 
    The Singapore dollar also weakened 0.1%. 
    Hopes of a U.S.-China trade deal helped limit losses for the
yuan, traders said. The currency edged 0.1% lower.

    The Philippine peso moved in the other direction,
strengthening 0.1%. 
    ING said hefty government spending in September "should be a
boost for the economy in the second half of the year. If so, we
could imagine the BSP taking a backstep on further policy
    The rupiah was flat on Wednesday, a day after it
registered strong gains on the back of reports of the country's
new cabinet that spurred hopes of reforms aimed at boosting
growth and investment.
    Indonesia's central bank is expected to cut interest rates
on Thursday at its policy meeting.
    Markets in Thailand were closed for a holiday. 
    South Korea's economy is expected to grow at a slower pace
in the third quarter than it did in the second as the
trade-reliant nation deals with a prolonged U.S.-China trade war
and a diplomatic tussle with neighbour Japan.
    The won was the worst performer, dropping 0.3%
against the dollar ahead of the data on Thursday. 
    Last week, South Korea's central bank cut its policy
interest rate for the second time in three months
and left the door open for further easing. 
    The next and last policy meeting of 2019, is on Nov. 29.

 Currency               Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen              108.390     108.47        +0.07
 Sing dlr               1.364       1.3623        -0.09
 Taiwan dlr             30.615      30.594        -0.07
 Korean won             1173.700    1169.7        -0.34
 Peso                   51.150      51.2          +0.10
 Rupiah                 14040.000   14037         -0.02
 Rupee                  70.915      70.93         +0.02
 Ringgit                4.192       4.187         -0.11
 Yuan                   7.083       7.0778        -0.07
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Currency               Latest bid  End 2018      Pct Move
 Japan yen              108.390     109.56        +1.08
 Sing dlr               1.364       1.3627        -0.06
 Taiwan dlr             30.615      30.733        +0.39
 Korean won             1173.700    1115.70       -4.94
 Baht                   30.290      32.55         +7.46
 Peso                   51.150      52.47         +2.58
 Rupiah                 14040.000   14375         +2.39
 Rupee                  70.915      69.77         -1.61
 Ringgit                4.192       4.1300        -1.47
 Yuan                   7.083       6.8730        -2.96
 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by
Jacqueline Wong)
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