July 17, 2018 / 6:27 AM / in 10 months

EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies edge up ahead of Fed head's testimony

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Patturaja  Murugaboopathy 
    July 17 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies edged higher
against the dollar on Tuesday ahead of the first U.S.
congressional testimony by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome
Powell later in the day.
    Powell will testify on the economy and monetary policy
before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee at 1400 GMT on Tuesday
and then before the House of Representatives Financial Service
Committee on Wednesday.
    The dollar index, up about 5 percent over the past
three months, was down 0.1 percent on Tuesday.
    "We expect him (Powell to) reiterate the recent "gradual
further increases" rhetoric. There appears to be limited
justification for him to project a more hawkish picture than
this," Terence Wu, an FX strategist at OCBC, said in a market
    "Thus, the balance of risks may be for him to under-deliver
on market expectations."
    Among regional currencies, the South Korean won
was the biggest gainer, rising earlier more than 0.5 percent
against the dollar.
    Lower crude prices boosted the Indian rupee and the
Indonesian rupiah. India and Indonesia are net buyers
of crude and benefit from lower import prices when oil costs
fall. The Malaysian ringgit edged lower.
    Some traders said China's second-quarter GDP release on
Monday also lent support to regional currencies on Tuesday.
Although it showed growth had slowed down from the previous
quarter, the figures offered some relief because they were in
line with expectations.
    Despite advances on the day, most analysts said Sino-U.S
trade tensions and faltering global economic growth would offer
long-term headwinds.
    The International Monetary Fund said on Monday trade
conflicts following U.S. tariff actions threatened to derail a
global economic recovery and depress the prospects for
medium-term growth. 
    Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trading for Oanda, said
weakness in regional currencies will resume as there is a risk
that the United States will impose tariffs on $200 billion worth
of Chinese imports by August.
    "We might continue to see these short-term reprieves. But I
don't think we will have a huge rally on the local currencies,
simply because of the prospects of trade war," Innes said.
    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0539 GMT.
   Change as of  0539                            
  Currency                Latest  Previous    Pct
                             bid       day   Move
  Japan yen             112.400     112.28  -0.11
  Sing dlr              1.360       1.3619  +0.11
  Taiwan dlr            30.543      30.575  +0.10
  Korean won            1124.400    1129.2  +0.43
  Baht                  33.240       33.26  +0.06
  Peso                  53.490       53.53  +0.07
  Rupiah                14370.00     14370  +0.00
  Rupee                 68.430       68.57  +0.20
  Ringgit               4.043         4.04  -0.07
  Yuan                  6.682       6.6924  +0.16
  Change so far in                               
  Currency              Latest    End 2017    Pct
                        bid                  Move
  Japan yen             112.400     112.67  +0.24
  Sing dlr              1.360       1.3373  -1.70
  Taiwan dlr            30.543      29.848  -2.28
  Korean won            1124.400   1070.50  -4.79
  Baht                  33.240       32.58  -1.99
  Peso                  53.490       49.93  -6.66
  Rupiah                14370.00     13565  -5.60
  Rupee                 68.430       63.87  -6.66
  Ringgit               4.043       4.0440  +0.02
  Yuan                  6.682       6.5069  -2.61
 (Reporting by Patturaja Murugaboopathy in Bengaluru; Editing by
Neil Fullick)
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