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EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies sag, Philippine peso hits 10-year low

    * Peso falls beyond 50.00 per dollar, hits 10-year low
    * Philippine says doesn't target an exchange rate
    * But Philippine says mindful of excessive volatility

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    SINGAPORE, Feb 20 (Reuters) - The Philippine peso tumbled to
its lowest level in more than a decade on Monday, with its slide
picking up further momentum after it breached psychological
support at 50 per U.S. dollar. 
    The head of the Philippine central bank said the peso's
weakness was driven by risk-off sentiment and geopolitical
concerns, especially in Europe. 
    The governor of the Philippine central bank, Amando
Tetangco, said the central bank does not target a specific
exchange rate level but is mindful of excessive volatility.
    The peso slipped to as low as 50.20 per dollar as
of 0547 GMT, matching a trough last touched in November 2006.
    The level of 50.00 per dollar had previously been a key
threshold, since the peso had held that level "partly because of
official intervention" said Andy Ji, Asian currency strategist
for Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
    "I think the market's been shaken a little bit," Ji said,
referring to the peso's fall on Monday.
    The peso's drop below the key technical support level
appears to have caught some market participants off guard, and
is a bearish signal for the peso, he added. 
    Separately, analysts at Maybank said in a research note that
there was some market chatter of selling in 10-year Philippine
    The peso had set an eight-year low of 50.00 against the
greenback late last November. That came as the dollar rallied
after the U.S. presidential elections, buoyed by expectations
that Donald Trump's fiscal policy proposals would bolster growth
and inflation and prompt the Federal Reserve to raise interest
rates at a faster pace.
    While the peso tested that trough on a number of occasions
since then, it had managed to avoid falling beyond that level
until Monday.
    The drop in the peso came on a day when several other
emerging Asian currencies were lower against the dollar, with
the Indonesian rupiah slipping 0.2 percent and the
Malaysian ringgit easing 0.1 percent.
    Markets, already nervous over the possibility of a win for
far-right, anti-European Union candidate Marine Le Pen, were
jolted after two French hard-left candidates late on Friday said
they were discussing cooperation in their bid for the country's
    The fear in markets is that a unified left-wing front could
cause the centrist vote to shift towards Le Pen.

  Change on the day at   0550 GMT                         
  Currency                  Latest bid   Previous      Pct
                                              day     Move
  Japan yen                     113.10     113.00    -0.09
  Sing dlr                      1.4174     1.4183    +0.06
  Taiwan dlr                    30.800     30.776    -0.08
  Korean won                   1145.60    1146.30    +0.06
  Baht                           35.02      34.98    -0.10
  Peso                          50.200     50.000    -0.40
  Rupiah                         13350      13330    -0.15
  Rupee                          67.00      67.02    +0.03
  Ringgit                       4.4560     4.4510    -0.11
  Yuan                          6.8669     6.8689    +0.03
  Change so far                                           
 in 2017                                           
  Currency                  Latest bid   End prev      Pct
                                             year     Move
  Japan yen                     113.10     117.07    +3.51
  Sing dlr                      1.4174     1.4490    +2.23
  Taiwan dlr                    30.800     32.279    +4.80
  Korean won                   1145.60    1207.70    +5.42
  Baht                           35.02      35.80    +2.25
  Peso                           50.20      49.72    -0.96
  Rupiah                         13350      13470    +0.90
  Rupee                          67.00      67.92    +1.37
  Ringgit                       4.4480     4.4845    +0.82
  Yuan                          6.8669     6.9467    +1.16

 (Reporting by Masayuki Kitano in Singapore; Additional
reporting by Karen Lema in Manila)