September 8, 2017 / 5:38 AM / 10 months ago

EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies rally as greenback flounders

    * Chinese yuan at near 21-mth high
    * Taiwan dollar at 3-year high

 (Adds details, updates prices)
    By Ambar Warrick
    Sept 8 (Reuters) - Asian currencies rallied against the dollar on Friday as
investors took  weakening of the greenback as a cue to buy into Asian markets,
with the Chinese yuan hitting a near 21-month high.
    The dollar fell to a more than 2-1/2 year low against a basket of
currencies, on track for its worst week in 17 weeks. The dollar has come under
pressure from a number of reasons of late, ranging from tensions with North
Korea to concerns over slowing economic growth in the United States.
    The dollar also fell against the euro after the European Central Bank
reaffirmed its ultra-easy policy stance by retaining rates at record lows.

    "Asian currencies are benefiting from some degree of dollar weakness,
especially due to the ECB deliberating whether or not to reduce asset purchases
at its October meeting, which is putting some downside pressure on the dollar,"
said Chang Wei Liang, FX strategist with Mizuho Bank in Singapore.
    The Chinese yuan surged to a near 21-month high against the
dollar. China's central bank raised its official yuan midpoint for
the 10th straight session on Friday to its strongest since May 12, 2016.
    The Philippine peso rose to near one-month high against the
dollar, edging up for its fifth consecutive session. The peso stands to gain
about 0.9 percent this week.
    The Indian rupee also rose to a one-month high, rising for a third
consecutive session. The rupee is ontrack to end the week 0.2 percent higher.
    The Thai baht rose to a more than two-year high against the dollar,
while the Indonesian rupiah stood at a near 10-month high.
    The Chinese yuan surged to a near 21-month high against the dollar on
    China's August exports rose by 5.5 percent from a year earlier, roughly in
line with expectations, while imports beat forecasts, growing 13.3 percent,
official data showed.
    The currency is poised for its best week since its revaluation in 2005.
    "Chinese FX reserves for August showed an increase for the 7th consecutive
month, highlighting that capital outflow pressures are nearly exhausted," Mizuho
Bank said in a research note. 
    The Taiwan dollar surged to a three-year high against the dollar on
    Taiwan's new premier, William Lai, on Friday said he would work to lure
greater investment to the island, while continuing to push reforms in areas
ranging from the energy industry to labour, pensions and tax.
    The currency is on track for its best week since mid-July.
    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at
0507 GMT.
 CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR                                      
   Change on the day at                                         
         0507 GMT                                      
  Currency                  Latest bid   Previous day   Pct Move
  Japan yen                 107.870            108.44      +0.53
  Sing dlr                  1.336              1.3399      +0.31
  Taiwan dlr                29.983             30.062      +0.26
  Korean won                1126.000           1129.4      +0.30
  Baht                      33.040              33.08      +0.12
  Peso                      50.725              50.93      +0.40
  Rupiah                    13220.000           13305      +0.64
  Rupee                     63.885              64.05      +0.25
  Ringgit                   4.184               4.208      +0.57
  Yuan                      6.460              6.4850      +0.39
  Change so far in 2017                                         
  Currency                  Latest bid  End 2016        Pct Move
  Japan yen                 107.870            117.07      +8.53
  Sing dlr                  1.336              1.4490      +8.47
  Taiwan dlr                29.983             32.279      +7.66
  Korean won                1126.000          1207.70      +7.26
  Baht                      33.040              35.80      +8.35
  Peso                      50.725              49.72      -1.98
  Rupiah                    13220.000           13470      +1.89
  Rupee                     63.885              67.92      +6.32
  Ringgit                   4.184              4.4845      +7.18
  Yuan                      6.460              6.9467      +7.53

 (Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Eric Meijer)
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