November 24, 2017 / 6:22 AM / 18 days ago

EM ASIA FX-Asia FX mostly firm, Chinese yuan softer despite higher c.bank fix

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Aaron Saldanha
    Nov 24 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies firmed on Friday
with the dollar remaining under pressure as it struggled to
shake off the Federal Reserve's concerns about low U.S.
inflation.
    The Chinese yuan weakened slightly despite a
stronger fix by the central bank with investors there squarely
focused on wobbly equities, which sold off heavily on Thursday,
and a continuing rout in the bond market.
    The dollar index which measures the greenback's
strength against a basket of six major currencies, is set to end
lower for the third straight week. It was last down slightly at
93.135. 
    "With NY (New York) away for Thanksgiving and investors now
doubting the Fed trajectory for 2018, expect investors to
continue to regard the dollar with suspicion intra-day," wrote
Emmanuel Ng of OCBC Bank in a note on Thursday. 
    The dollar skidded on Wednesday after minutes from the Fed's
latest policy meeting showed some policymakers fretting over 
stubbornly weak inflation. That led some to question
expectations of hikes in 2018. 
    Some Asian central banks are suspected to to be buying
dollars, including in India and Thailand. On Thursday, as the
won hovered near 2-1/2-year highs, a South Korean official
warned that offshore speculators were "failing to notice the
government's willingness to stabilise financial markets."

    However, the won remained firm for the fourth
straight day, up fractionally by 0.04 percent, as investors
counted down to the Bank of Korea's monetary policy meeting next
week that is widely expected to deliver a rate hike.
    Similarly, the Taiwanese dollar also strengthened
for the fourth consecutive day, gaining 0.06 percent as the 
benchmark equity index added 0.18 percent to close its
biggest winning week since Oct. 13, helped by information
technology stocks.  
    Moving in the opposite direction, India's rupee
weakened 0.23 percent, making it the region's second biggest
loser on the day. India is due to release data on its foreign
exchange reserve balance later on Friday.
    The Singapore dollar was a touch lower by 0.07
percent.
    Data earlier in the day showed manufacturing output in
October grew 14.6 percent, missing expectations of 15.5 percent
growth, though that came after the city state on Thursday
reported forecast-topping gross domestic product (GDP) growth
numbers.
    
        
    MALAYSIAN RINGGIT
    
    Malaysia's ringgit weakened 0.29 percent on Friday
after gaining for the previous five straight sessions, making it
the region's biggest loser. Inflation cooled in October to 3.7
percent, and was below the 4 percent forecast in a Reuters poll.

    The Malaysian central bank has adopted a hawkish tone in
recent times as the country recovers from disappointing growth
in 2016 with Bank Negara Malaysia's governor Muhammad Ibrahim
saying on Monday that the ringgit was "far from reflecting its
fair value". 
    He also said last week that the economy was on track to
register growth of 5.2 to 5.7 percent this year and may even
exceed that estimate..
    
    CHINESE YUAN
    
    The yuan weakened over the course of the day
despite the People's Bank of China (PBOC) fixing the midpoint at
the strongest in six weeks. 
    The yuan's official midpoint was set at 6.5810 to
the dollar, firmer than the previous fix of 6.6021 and the key
6.6 mark. 
   "The fixing was strong because the U.S. dollar had weakened
the basket of currencies. The fixing today is simply a
reflection of the weakness in the dollar that we have seen
overnight," said Khoon Goh, head of Asia research at ANZ.
    
    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0505 GMT.
    
    CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR
 Change on the day at 0505 GMT                          
 Currency                     Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen                    111.44      111.21        -0.21
 Sing dlr                     1.3459      1.3452        -0.05
 Taiwan dlr                   29.990      30.007        +0.06
 Korean won                   1085        1085.4        +0.06
 Baht                         32.660      32.68         +0.06
 Peso                         50.725      50.68         -0.09
 Rupiah                       13510       13511         +0.01
 Rupee                        64.73       64.58         -0.23
 Ringgit                      4.117       4.105         -0.29
 Yuan                         6.588       6.5850        -0.05
                                                        
 Change so far in 2017                                  
 Currency                     Latest bid  End 2016      Pct Move
 Japan yen                    111.44      117.07        +5.05
 Sing dlr                     1.3459      1.4490        +7.66
 Taiwan dlr                   29.990      32.279        +7.63
 Korean won                   1085        1207.70       +11.34
 Baht                         32.660      35.80         +9.61
 Peso                         50.725      49.72         -1.98
 Rupiah                       13510       13470         -0.30
 Rupee                        64.730      67.92         +4.93
 Ringgit                      4.117       4.4845        +8.93
 Yuan                         6.588       6.9467        +5.44
 
 (Reporting by Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru; Editing by Shri
Navaratnam)
  
 
 

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