October 1, 2018 / 5:39 AM / a year ago

EM ASIA FX-Most Asian units slip, but baht hits 3-1/2 month high

    * Most currencies fall on dollar strength, China data
    * Thai baht gains as much as 0.4 percent
    * Indian rupee hurt by higher oil prices

 (Adds context on baht, rupee and dollar)
    By Ambar Warrick
    Oct 1 (Reuters) - The Thai baht strengthened to a 3-1/2
month high on Monday after September's higher-than-expected
inflation rate led some traders to expect higher interest rates
eventually, while most other Asian units fell against the U.S.
    Thailand's headline consumer price index rose 1.33 percent
from a year earlier, slightly above the 1.3 percent seen in a
Reuters poll.
    The Bank of Thailand (BOT) has not changed its key lending
rate since 2015,  but there have been signs that the country
will later join others in Asia in following the U.S. Federal
Reserve and tightening monetary policy. 
    Qi Gao, FX strategist with Scotiabank, said the prospect of
future Thai tightening supported the baht, although a rate hike
was not expected in the near term.
    The baht gained as much as 0.4 percent, reaching
32.20 to the dollar.
    Regional units started the quarter on a subdued note as
general resilience for the U.S. dollar, coupled with weaker
Chinese manufacturing data, weighed on Asian sentiment.
    Growth in China's manufacturing sector sputtered in
September as both external and domestic demand weakened, two
surveys showed, implying that its trade spat with the United
States may be taking a heavier toll on its economy than
    Scotiabank's Gao said market participants were awaiting U.S.
payroll data later in the week that should help indicate the
dollar's direction. 
    The dollar was slightly higher after the United
States and Canada reached a framework deal to update the North
American Free Trade Agreement on Monday. The currency gained
nearly 1 percent over the past week.
    The Indian rupee shed nearly 0.5 percent to the
dollar. Higher oil prices have battered the rupee, as the
country imports a bulk of its crude oil needs.
     The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is likely to raise interest
rates on Oct. 5 to prop up the rupee, according to a Reuters
poll of economists who also trimmed their near-term economic
growth forecasts.
    The Philippine and Indonesian central banks had hiked their
key  rates last week.
    The peso, rupiah and the rupee are the worst performing
currencies in Asia this year.
    The Philippine peso fell about 0.2 percent to the dollar for
the day. 
    China's markets are closed for the week, for holidays, so
the yuan  did not trade. 
    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0443 GMT.
 CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR                              
 Change on the day                                      
 Currency                     Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen                    113.860     113.68        -0.16
 Sing dlr                     1.371       1.3663        -0.31
 Taiwan dlr                   30.516      30.551        +0.11
 Korean won                   1111.000    1109.3        -0.15
 Baht                         32.230      32.33         +0.31
 Peso                         54.075      53.965        -0.20
 Rupiah                       14900.000   14900         +0.00
 Rupee                        72.815      72.48         -0.46
 Ringgit                      4.141       4.137         -0.10
 Change so far in 2018                                  
 Currency                     Latest bid  End 2017      Pct Move
 Japan yen                    113.860     112.67        -1.05
 Sing dlr                     1.371       1.3373        -2.42
 Taiwan dlr                   30.516      29.848        -2.19
 Korean won                   1111.000    1070.50       -3.65
 Baht                         32.230      32.58         +1.09
 Peso                         54.075      49.93         -7.67
 Rupiah                       14900.000   13565         -8.96
 Rupee                        72.815      63.87         -12.28
 Ringgit                      4.141       4.0440        -2.34
 Yuan                         6.873       6.5069        -5.32

 (Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru)
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