April 29, 2020 / 7:19 AM / a month ago

EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies firm as reopening of some economies lifts sentiment

    * Q1 U.S. economic growth data, Fed policy decision awaited
    * S.Korea records biggest jump in factory output in 11 years
    * Indian rupee hits strongest level in more than three weeks

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Shreya Mariam Job
    April 29 (Reuters) - Asian currencies gained ground against
a weaker dollar on Wednesday as moves to ease coronavirus-driven
restrictions in several countries boosted risk appetite, while
upbeat factory data lifted the South Korean won.
    Investors are growing confident that the pandemic may be
peaking as parts of the United States, Europe and Australia
gradually ease restrictions while New Zealand this week allowed
some businesses to reopen.
    The coronavirus outbreak has so far claimed 216,667 lives
globally and infected more than 3.11 million people, according
to a Reuters tally.
    As investors leaned toward riskier assets, the dollar
slipped 0.2% against a basket of currencies.
    Market participants remained wary on the dollar ahead of
advanced estimates for first-quarter U.S. economic growth and
the Federal Reserve's policy decision.
    "It is more likely that the Fed will merely assess the
policy actions that have been announced, and possibly streamline
or clarify the plethora of facilities set up," Mizuho bank said
in a note.
    The Fed has pumped trillions of dollars in emergency funding
into financial markets to stem the damage from the pandemic. 
    The Indian rupee gained about 0.6% and hit its
strongest level since April 7. 
    The South Korean won firmed 0.5% on the back of
strong March factory output.
    Industrial output jumped by the most in 11 years last month
as demand for display panels and cars received an unexpected
boost from lengthy shutdowns in competing Chinese factories amid
the pandemic.
    Meanwhile, Vice Finance Minister Kim Yong-beom said the
monthly trade balance reading could swing to a deficit in April
for the first time since 2012.
    
    CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR
  Change on the day at                               
        0624 GMT                               
  Currency               Latest bid  Previous     Pct
                                          day    Move
  Japan yen             106.580        106.86   +0.26
  Sing dlr              1.414          1.4169   +0.19
  Taiwan dlr            29.893         30.036   +0.48
  Korean won            1218.500       1225.2   +0.55
  Baht                  32.400          32.42   +0.06
  Peso                  50.500          50.57   +0.14
  Rupiah                15350.000       15380   +0.20
  Rupee                 75.700          76.19   +0.65
  Ringgit               4.348            4.36   +0.28
  Yuan                  7.079          7.0804   +0.03
                                                     
  Change so far in                                   
 2020                                          
  Currency              Latest bid   End 2019     Pct
                                                 Move
  Japan yen             106.580        108.61   +1.90
  Sing dlr              1.414          1.3444   -4.94
  Taiwan dlr            29.893         30.106   +0.71
  Korean won            1218.500      1156.40   -5.10
  Baht                  32.400          29.91   -7.69
  Peso                  50.500          50.65   +0.30
  Rupiah                15350.000       13880   -9.58
  Rupee                 75.700          71.38   -5.71
  Ringgit               4.348          4.0890   -5.96
  Yuan                  7.079          6.9632   -1.63
 
 (Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by
Subhranshu Sahu)
  
 
 
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