February 19, 2018 / 7:13 AM / 4 months ago

EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies consolidate in holiday-thinned trade; peso hits 11-1/2 yr low

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Patturaja  Murugaboopathy 
    Feb 19 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies consolidated on
Monday as low liquidity and an absence of currency market
catalysts limited gains, but  strong regional equity markets
propped them up.
    South Korea's KOSPI index rose 0.9 percent, while
Singapore's Straits Times index and Malaysia's Bursa
Malaysia KLCI index  rose about 1 percent each.  
    The South Korean won, which resumed trading after
a two-day Lunar New Year holiday, rose nearly 1 percent, leading
the regional currencies' gains on the day.
    "In terms of the Asia FX movements, the most of what we are
seeing is the reflection of what happened on the U.S. close on
Friday," said Khoon Goh, head of Asia research at ANZ Banking
Group (Singapore).
    "However with most markets closed, we can't read much into
the price action today."
    The S&P 500 index rose on Friday to mark its biggest
weekly increase in five years.
    Currency markets in China and Taiwan were closed for Lunar
New Year and India is shut for a banking holiday.
    The Philippine peso hit its lowest level in more
than 11 years, weighed down by the central bank's decision to
cut banks' reserve requirement ratios.
    The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reduced banks' 20 percent
reserve ratio requirement by 1 percent, a move that is expected
to pump more than $1.5 billion into the economy.
    "A cut at this time of rising inflationary pressures may
stoke investor concerns of even higher levels of inflation,
which is why the peso sold off this morning,"  the Bank of
Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ said in a report.
    The Thai baht also dropped more than a quarter
percent as Thailand's economy grew slightly less than expected
in the fourth quarter. 
    The Japanese yen, Singapore dollar, Indonesian
rupiah and the Malaysian ringgit all traded 
flat on the day.
    The dollar found some traction after sharp declines in the
past week due to concerns over widening U.S. trade and budget
deficits and speculation that Washington might pursue a weak
dollar strategy.
    The dollar index against a group of six major peers
was steady at 89.045.
    "Broader term perspective, we maintain our view that broad
dollar down-trend is likely to remain in place," Maybank said in
a report.
    "We see opportunities for relative value plays in Asia,
favouring currencies that benefit from the export-led recovery
and commodity price rebound." 
    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0617 GMT.

    Change as of                                 
      0617 GMT                             
  Currency             Latest    Previous     Pct
                          bid         day    Move
  Japan yen          106.490        106.3   -0.18
  Sing dl            1.312         1.3118   +0.01
  Taiwan dl*         29.342        29.358   +0.05
  Korean won         1067.000      1077.2   +0.96
  Baht               31.320         31.24   -0.26
  Peso               52.340            52   -0.65
  Rupiah             13551.00       13557   +0.04
  Rupee*             64.210         64.21   +0.00
  Ring               3.887          3.891   +0.10
  Yuan*              6.345         6.3400   -0.08
 * Closed for                                    
 market holiday                            
  Change so far in                               
  Currency           Latest    End 2017       Pct
                     bid                     Move
  Japan yen          106.490       112.67   +5.80
  Sing dl            1.312         1.3373   +1.95
  Taiwan dl          29.342        29.848   +1.72
  Korean won         1067.000     1070.50   +0.33
  Baht               31.320         32.58   +4.02
  Peso               52.340         49.93   -4.60
  Rupiah             13551.00       13565   +0.10
  Rupee              64.210         63.87   -0.53
  Ring               3.887         4.0440   +4.04
  Yuan               6.345         6.5069   +2.55
 (Reporting by Patturaja Murugaboopathy; Additional reporting by
Gaurav Dogra in Bengaluru; Editing by Eric Meijer)
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