September 5, 2018 / 8:15 AM / 8 months ago

EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies drop; Indonesia, India cbanks intervene

    * Rupiah sees 'decisive' central bank intervention
    * India appears to intervene to help rupee - traders
    * Philippine peso rises after inflation at 9-year high

 (Adds details on stock markets, capital outflows, updates
    By Ambar Warrick
    Sept 5 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies weakened on
Wednesday as fears of contagion from Argentina and other
emerging markets buffeted the region, although suspected central
bank intervention put a floor under the Indonesian rupiah and
the Indian rupee.
    Stock markets fell across the region and the safe-haven
dollar hovered near a two-week high as heightened worries
over international trade conflicts and emerging market weakness
curbed investors' appetite for riskier assets.
    Risk appetite for emerging market assets was further soured
after South Africa's economy fell into recession, joining Turkey
and Argentina. The Turkish lira and Argentinean peso extended
    Indonesian stocks fell as much as 4.8 percent -- their
biggest one-day loss in at least five years-- while Philippine
stocks sank more than 2 percent at one point.   
    Investors were also wary about the prospect of fresh U.S
tariffs on another $200 billion of Chinese goods that could be
unveiled after a public comment period on such a proposal ends
on Thursday. Market participants also awaited key U.S. payroll
data later in the week.
    "At this point there's still further pressure on emerging
markets generally, and markets are awaiting two key events- one
is the U.S. payrolls numbers and secondly whether or not the
U.S. will announce the tariffs when the consultation period
ends," said Khoon Goh, ANZ's Singapore-based head of Asia
    The Philippine peso, which has fallen against the
dollar the past five days, rose about 0.12 percent, in contrast
to the country's stocks.
    The annual inflation rate quickened at its fastest in more
than nine years in August, implying that a fourth interest rate
hike by the Philippine central bank may be on the cards.

    The country has been struggling to contain inflation, as
well as a large current account deficit.
    The Malaysian ringgit fell 0.14 percent to the dollar
and touched its lowest level since November 2017 as the central
bank held its benchmark interest rate steady at a meeting on
Wednesday, as expected.
    Malaysian exports grew more than expected in July on higher
shipments to China and increased demand for manufactured goods.

    The Indonesian rupiah hovered around levels last
seen during the Asian financial crisis two decades ago.
    The central bank said it had "decisively intervened" in the
foreign exchange and bond markets on Wednesday to curb
    Thanks to the intervention, "we have a stable rupiah today,
but on the other side the demand for hedging is up, and there is
already increased activity in the non-deliverable forwards (NDF)
market," said Fakhrul Fulvian, chief economist at Trimegah
    "It indicates that rupiah depreciation is likely to
    The rupiah has lost more around 1 percent over the past
three days, after shedding more than 2 percent in August.
    Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on Wednesday that a
priority was to increase investment and exports to contain the 
current account deficit, which has dragged on the currency. 

    The government also promised strict action against currency
speculators, and announced plans to delay import-heavy energy
projects in a bid to push up the rupiah.
     At 0604 GMT, one-year rupiah NDFs were quoted
at 16,251 per dollar, 8.9 percent weaker than the spot level. 
    The Indonesian equities market has seen outflows of $3.68
billion so far this year as of Sept. 4. Indonesia saw net
outflows of $2.96 billion in 2017, according to stock exchange
    The Indian rupee fell 0.49 percent to the dollar.
    The Reserve Bank of India likely sold dollars at 71.80
rupees in the local spot forex market to stem the sharp fall,
two traders told Reuters.
    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0723 GMT.
 Change on the day                                   
 Currency                  Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen                 111.410     111.44        +0.03
 Sing dlr                  1.381       1.3759        -0.33
 Taiwan dlr                30.780      30.766        -0.05
 Korean won                1121.500    1114.9        -0.59
 Baht                      32.860      32.79         -0.21
 Peso                      53.547      53.61         +0.12
 Rupiah                    14926.000   14930         +0.03
 Rupee                     71.930      71.58         -0.49
 Ringgit                   4.143       4.137         -0.14
 Yuan                      6.841       6.8450        +0.06
 Change so far in 2018                               
 Currency                  Latest bid  End 2017      Pct Move
 Japan yen                 111.410     112.67        +1.13
 Sing dlr                  1.381       1.3373        -3.13
 Taiwan dlr                30.780      29.848        -3.03
 Korean won                1121.500    1070.50       -4.55
 Baht                      32.860      32.58         -0.85
 Peso                      53.547      49.93         -6.75
 Rupiah                    14926.000   13565         -9.12
 Rupee                     71.930      63.87         -11.21
 Ringgit                   4.143       4.0440        -2.39
 Yuan                      6.841       6.5069        -4.88
 (Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard
Borsuk and Kim Coghill)
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