May 11, 2017 / 7:12 AM / 6 months ago

EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies tread water on caution

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Patturaja  Murugaboopathy 
    May 11 (Reuters) - Asian currencies were slightly positive
on Thursday in the absence of broad catalysts to lift them
higher, while caution prevailed on concerns over North Korea and
President Donald Trump's abrupt firing of FBI Director James
    The dollar edged down after notching an eight-week high
against the yen on Thursday in Asian trade. 
    "There is no risk-on or carry trade today, rather cautious
trading. I think markets are watching for more cues", said
Vishnu Varathan, senior economist at Mizuho Bank.
    The South Korea won was the biggest gainer in the
region, rising more than half a percent on hopes of expansionary
fiscal policies from the government of newly elected President
Moon Jae-In.
    "Going forward, the expected political stability after the
presidential election should bode well for the KRW while fiscal
stimulus will be an added positive on the back of sustained
recovery in global demand," United Overseas Bank said in a
    The Indian dollar edged up as the NSE index
hit a record high on expectations of lower interest rates after
a better monsoon forecast eased inflation fears in a country
that depends heavily on rains to irrigate its farmlands.

    China's yuan weakened against the U.S. dollar,
despite major state-owned banks offering dollar liquidity to
meet corporate demand for the dollar.
    China's latest factory-gate prices and manufacturing data
have led to concerns on its economic outlook and the impact on
    On Wednesday, the official data showed China's April
producer price inflation rose 6.4 percent from a year earlier,
slower than the economist's expectations for 6.9 percent, and
lower than the previous month's 7.6 percent. 
    Chinese manufacturing and exports have softened from levels
seen in the fourth quarter of last year and early this year,
said Varathan.
    "It is going to give a lot of caution about not getting too
far ahead and long on Asia, typically the exports- focused
ones," he added.

    The Philippine peso was slightly weaker on the day,
after data showed the country's trade deficit widened in March.

    The central bank is expected to keep the policy rates steady
on Thursday. However most analysts expect a rate increase later
this year.
     With the Philippines set to outperform the region, its
central bank is set to become the first in Southeast Asia to
raise rates, likely in the fourth quarter, Leong Sook Mei, ASEAN
head of global markets research for the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi
UFJ in Singapore, wrote in a note.
  Change on the                             
 day at   0618                       
  Currency         Latest  Previous      Pct
                      bid       day     Move
  Japan yen      114.120     114.27    +0.13
  Sing dlr       1.410       1.4104    +0.06
  Taiwan dlr     30.209      30.266    +0.19
  Korean won     1128.900    1135.8    +0.61
  Baht           34.738      34.763    +0.07
  Peso           49.940       49.95    +0.02
  Rupiah*        13355.00     13355    +0.00
  Rupee          64.525       64.62    +0.15
  Ringgit        4.346        4.345    -0.02
  Yuan           6.905       6.9012    -0.06
 *Closed for                                
 market holiday                      
  Change so far                             
  Currency       Latest    End 2016      Pct
                 bid                    Move
  Japan yen      114.120     117.07    +2.58
  Sing dlr       1.410       1.4490    +2.80
  Taiwan dlr     30.209      32.279    +6.85
  Korean won     1128.900   1207.70    +6.98
  Baht           34.738       35.80    +3.06
  Peso           49.940       49.72    -0.44
  Rupiah         13355.00     13470    +0.86
  Rupee          64.525       67.92    +5.26
  Ringgit        4.346       4.4845    +3.19
  Yuan           6.905       6.9467    +0.60
 (Reporting By Patturaja Murugaboopathy in Bengaluru; Editing by
Amrutha Gayathri)

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