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EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies ease against dollar ahead of Fed meeting
December 12, 2016 / 6:08 AM / a year ago

EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies ease against dollar ahead of Fed meeting

* Fed widely expected to raise interest rates this week
    * Market awaits clues on outlook for U.S. monetary policy
    * Won and Chinese yuan inch lower against dollar
    * Singapore dollar, Philippine peso steady after initial dip

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    SINGAPORE, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Asian currencies eased against
the dollar on Monday as investors awaited this week's Federal
Reserve policy meeting for hints on the possible pace of U.S.
monetary tightening next year.
    The South Korean won and Chinese yuan 
edged lower as the greenback was underpinned ahead of the
two-day Fed meeting that begins on Tuesday. 
    The Philippine peso touched a 2-week low of
49.870 but later pared its losses, helped by dollar-selling by
domestic players. 
    The Singapore dollar set a 1-1/2 week low of 1.4334 
to the U.S. dollar at one point but came off that low, 
supported by corporate selling of the greenback. 
    Financial markets in India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand
were all closed on Monday for public holidays. 
    The dollar index, which measures the greenback's
value against a basket of six major currencies, last stood at
101.57 after touching a 1-1/2 week high of 101.78  
    Monday's early rise brought the dollar index back within
sight of a 13-1/2 year high of 102.05 set in late November, when
the greenback rallied as U.S. bond yields surged on expectations
of higher fiscal spending and a faster pace of Fed monetary
tightening when Donald Trump becomes president.    
    "This looks more like a dollar-buying move, rather than a
sell-off of emerging markets," said a trader for a Japanese bank
in Tokyo, referring to Monday's drop in some Asian currencies.
    Asian currencies are likely to remain weak ahead of the Fed
meeting and could come under renewed pressure if U.S. bond
yields head higher afterwards, the trader said.
    At the meeting, the U.S. central bank is widely expected to
raise its target rate for overnight lending between banks by 25
basis points - from the current range of 0.25 percent to 0.50
    Investors will be scrutinizing the Fed's economic
projections for signs of any change following Trump's surprise
victory in the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 8.
    The South Korean won set a one-week low of 1,174.2 as the
dollar edged higher ahead of the Fed meeting.
    South Korean shares, however, touched their highest
levels since Oct. 25 at the start of Monday's trade, as
investors felt some uncertainty in the market was erased after
South Korean lawmakers voted overwhelmingly on Friday to impeach
President Park Geun-hye over an influence-peddling scandal.
  Change on the day at   0535 GMT                       
  Currency               Latest bid   Previous  Pct Move
  Japan yen                  115.49     115.36     -0.11
  Sing dlr                   1.4306     1.4312     +0.04
  Taiwan dlr                 31.860     31.860     +0.00
  Korean won                1167.20    1165.90     -0.11
  Baht                        35.63      35.63     +0.00
  Peso                       49.780     49.760     -0.04
  Rupiah                      13325      13325     +0.00
  Rupee                       67.42      67.43     +0.01
  Ringgit                    4.4215     4.4215     +0.00
  Yuan                       6.9149     6.9056     -0.13
  Change so                                             
 far in 2016                                    
  Currency               Latest bid   End prev  Pct Move
  Japan yen                  115.49     120.30     +4.16
  Sing dlr                   1.4306     1.4177     -0.90
  Taiwan dlr                 31.860     33.066     +3.79
  Korean won                1167.20    1172.50     +0.45
  Baht                        35.63      36.00     +1.04
  Peso                        49.78      47.06     -5.46
  Rupiah                      13325      13785     +3.45
  Rupee                       67.42      66.15     -1.88
  Ringgit                    4.4215     4.2935     -2.89
  Yuan                       6.9149     6.4936     -6.09
 (Reporting by Masayuki Kitano; Additional reporting by IFR
Markets' Catherine Tan and Christine Kim in Seoul; Editing by
Richard Borsuk)

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