September 11, 2019 / 5:44 AM / 6 days ago

EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies in tight ranges as cbank decisions loom

    * Philippine peso weakens for a second day
    * Malaysia July factory output below forecast
    * S. Korean won strengthens 

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Shriya Ramakrishnan
    Sept 11 (Reuters) - Asian currencies clung to tight ranges
on Wednesday as investors awaited directional cues from major
central bank meetings although the prospect of fresh stimulus
and signs of easing in Sino-U.S. trade tensions supported some
export-focused units.
    Investor focus is now centred on to the European Central
Bank's meeting on Thursday, which is expect to deliver a rate
cut and set the tone for upcoming decisions by the U.S. Federal
Reserve and the Bank of Japan next week.
    The Philippine peso extended its losses, falling 0.2%
against the dollar to its lowest level in over a week after data
on Tuesday showed the trade deficit widening.
    "Another interest rate cut by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas
could compress real yields in the Philippines, potentially
making onshore assets less attractive relative to regional peers
with higher real yields," Han Tan, market analyst at FXTM said. 
    "Still, the peso should find support over the remainder of
2019 from expected inflows in line with the government’s
infrastructure spending plans."
    Tan said fresh stimulus globally would likely help prop up
demand in some of the world’s biggest economies, which could
have a positive spillover effect for the currencies of open and
trade-dependent Asian economies. 
    The South Korean won strengthened 0.2% to the
dollar, buoyed by data which showed Asia's fourth-largest
economy notched up a rare gain in exports for the first 10 days
of this month.
    Capping the won's gains, however, were South Korean plans to
file a complaint at the World Trade Organization over Japan's
tighter export controls.
    The Indian rupee, which resumed trade after a
holiday, edged lower, with investor focus shifting to inflation
data due on Thursday.
    Economists polled by Reuters see retail inflation rising to
a 10-month high in August on higher food prices, while staying
below the central bank's medium-term target of 4%, prompting
expectations for a rate cut next month.
    The Malaysian Ringgit was marginally lower ahead of a
monetary policy decision on Thursday.
    According to a Reuters poll, Malaysia's central bank is
expected to keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged on
Thursday, as it keeps room for potential easing later should
global growth fall sharply.
    Amid a deterioration in the currency, foreign investors sold
both Malaysian equities and debt securities by a total of 2.7
billion ringgit  ($646.71 million) in August, reversing the
buying trend in June and July, according to a note by UOB Group.
    The ringgit weakened 1.9% in August, and has lost about 1.1%
so far this year.  
    The Southeast Asian nation's industrial production index
rose at its slowest pace in five years in July as mining output
slowed, government data showed on Wednesday.
 Change on the day at   0502 GMT                  
 Currency               Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen              107.730     107.53        -0.19
 Sing dlr               1.378       1.3797        +0.10
 Taiwan dlr             31.208      31.230        +0.07
 Korean won             1190.900    1193.3        +0.20
 Baht                   30.620      30.62         +0.00
 Peso                   52.130      52.02         -0.21
 Rupiah                 14050.000   14045         -0.04
 Rupee                  71.713      71.70         -0.02
 Ringgit                4.175       4.17          -0.12
 Yuan                   7.112       7.1130        +0.01
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Currency               Latest bid  End 2018      Pct Move
 Japan yen              107.730     109.56        +1.70
 Sing dlr               1.378       1.3627        -1.13
 Taiwan dlr             31.208      30.733        -1.52
 Korean won             1190.900    1115.70       -6.31
 Baht                   30.620      32.55         +6.30
 Peso                   52.130      52.47         +0.65
 Rupiah                 14050.000   14375         +2.31
 Rupee                  71.713      69.77         -2.71
 Ringgit                4.175       4.1300        -1.08
 Yuan                   7.112       6.8730        -3.36
($1 = 4.1750 ringgit)

 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam
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