October 23, 2018 / 6:08 AM / in 7 months

EM ASIA FX-Asia units decline on global worries; S.Korea won falls most

    * Worries on Saudi Arabia, Italy favour safe-haven
    * Yuan bucks trend,  strengthens marginally
    * Indonesian c.bank expected to hold benchmark rate

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Devika Syamnath
    Oct 23 (Reuters) - Most emerging market currencies slipped
on Tuesday as multiple political issues led to a firming of the
yen and dollar, seen as safe havens. 
    Causes of concern ranged from Saudi Arabia's diplomatic
isolation after the murder of a critic to Italy's budget and
Brexit talks.
    The dollar index, a gauge of its value versus six
major peers, rose marginally, trading at 96.077. 
    "You do see a stronger dollar exerting itself particularly
in the context of weaker currencies across the board... so
broad-based directional cues have already set the stage for
weaker Asian currencies," said Vishnu Varathan, head of
economics and strategy for Mizuho Bank in Singapore.
    The region's biggest loser was the Korean won,
down 0.8 percent against the dollar, followed by the Indian
rupee, off 0.4 percent.
    The rupee, Asia's worst performing currency this year after
a 13 percent tumble,  touched its weakest level in a week on
    The Philippine peso fell 0.2 percent to 53.9 to the
dollar and  Malaysia's ringgit dropped fractionally to
    The Singapore dollar  was 0.1 percent lower for the
day, while the Taiwanese dollar gave up 0.2 percent.
    Taiwan's September export orders expanded slightly less than
expected, data showed on Monday, as weaker demand for machinery
amid the United States-China trade war partly offset robust
orders for electronic gadgets.
    China's blue-chip index ran out of steam after posting its
strongest day in nearly three years on Monday. 
    "There wasn't enough cheer from China to offset the sense of
caution," said Varathan. 
    The Chinese yuan bucked the regional trend and
strengthened, but only marginally.
    The rupiah was down more than 0.2 percent ahead of a
central bank policy decision later in the day. It is widely
expected to hold its key interest.
    Bank Indonesia (BI) has hiked its benchmark by 150 basis
points (bps) since mid-May to help prop up the fragile currency
which has weakened nearly 11 percent this year. 
    The archipelago is wrestling with a high current account
deficit, which further widens as the currency weakens.

    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0501 GMT.
 Currency                     Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen                    112.520     112.8         +0.25
 Sing dlr                     1.381       1.3798        -0.07
 Taiwan dlr                   30.966      30.920        -0.15
 Korean won                   1137.100    1128.4        -0.77
 Peso                         53.900      53.8          -0.19
 Rupiah                       15205.000   15180         -0.16
 Rupee                        73.820      73.56         -0.36
 Ringgit                      4.160       4.159         -0.02
 Yuan                         6.942       6.9444        +0.04
 Change so far in 2018                                  
 Currency                     Latest bid  End 2017      Pct Move
 Japan yen                    112.520     112.67        +0.13
 Sing dlr                     1.381       1.3373        -3.15
 Taiwan dlr                   30.966      29.848        -3.61
 Korean won                   1137.100    1070.50       -5.86
 Peso                         53.900      49.977        -7.28
 Rupiah                       15205.000   13565         -10.79
 Rupee                        73.820      63.87         -13.48
 Ringgit                      4.160       4.0440        -2.79
 Yuan                         6.942       6.5069        -6.26

 (Reporting by Devika Syamnath in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard
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