November 25, 2019 / 6:08 AM / 2 months ago

EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies checked by U.S.-China trade deal uncertainty

    * Philippine peso leads gains
    * Singapore oct core inflation eases
    * Taiwan dollar flat ahead of industrial output data 

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Shriya Ramakrishnan
    Nov 25 (Reuters) - Asian currency markets were shackled in a
tight space on Monday, with investors content to hold most of
their bets in light of uncertainty over progress made in
U.S.-China trade talks.
    Over the weekend, U.S. national security adviser Robert
O'Brien said that an initial agreement is still possible by the
end of the year, but warned Washington would not turn a blind
eye to what happens in Hong Kong.
    "The currency market is a bit fatigued on the trade side –
tired of the alternating hot and cold headlines....the
expectations are quite low right now in terms of what the deal
would involve," Sim Moh Siong, FX strategist at Bank of
Singapore said.
    Moves in currency pairs were slight, with the Philippine
peso managing to tack on 0.3% against the dollar, while
the Chinese yuan firmed 0.1%.
    "I don’t know whether to use the word cautiously optimistic
because we were there before, and then we went to cautiously seem to now be stuck in a limbo
territory," Siong added, referring to the small gains in the
   The Singapore dollar barely reacted to key inflation
readings for the city-state, while the Indian rupee edged
    Data on Monday showed that Singapore' core inflation rate
eased to its weakest level in over three years in October.

    The Taiwan dollar traded flat ahead of the release
of industrial output figures for October, while the Thai baht
 was off 0.1%. 
     The country's central bank on Saturday said it would ease
rules governing the foreign exchange market and international
reserves, giving it more scope to tackle the baht's strength
following a series of rate cuts.
    The baht has risen nearly 8% on the dollar this year,
underpinned by Thailand's large current account surplus, high
foreign reserves and low foreign debt.
    The South Korean won advanced 0.3% against the
    Han Tan, a market analyst at FXTM, said the won was likely
being supported by market expectations the Bank of Korea will
keep its benchmark interest rates unchanged at its policy
meeting on Friday. The BOK cut the policy rate by 25 bps in
October to prop up a stuttering economy.
    "The fact that the won has been Asia’s most volatile
currency in recent weeks underscores the fluctuating levels of
optimism surrounding the U.S.-China trade deal," Han Tan, Market
Analyst at FXTM said. 
    The won, one of the most sensitive currencies to
trade-related headlines given its reliance on tech exports, has
lost just over 5.0% against the dollar this year.
 Change on the day at   0553 GMT                  
 Currency               Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen              108.810     108.64        -0.16
 Sing dlr               1.364       1.3641        +0.04
 Taiwan dlr             30.512      30.517        +0.02
 Korean won             1176.000    1178.9        +0.25
 Baht                   30.210      30.18         -0.10
 Peso                   50.780      50.91         +0.26
 Rupiah                 14085.000   14080         -0.04
 Rupee                  71.618      71.71         +0.13
 Ringgit                4.173       4.17          -0.07
 Yuan                   7.034       7.0405        +0.10
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Currency               Latest bid  End 2018      Pct Move
 Japan yen              108.810     109.56        +0.69
 Sing dlr               1.364       1.3627        -0.06
 Taiwan dlr             30.512      30.733        +0.72
 Korean won             1176.000    1115.70       -5.13
 Baht                   30.210      32.55         +7.75
 Peso                   50.780      52.47         +3.33
 Rupiah                 14085.000   14375         +2.06
 Rupee                  71.618      69.77         -2.58
 Ringgit                4.173       4.1300        -1.03
 Yuan                   7.034       6.8730        -2.28

 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru
Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
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