February 15, 2018 / 6:50 AM / 10 days ago

EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies rise as dollar off despite higher U.S. inflation

    * Asian currencies rise broadly on global sentiment
    * Dollar slips despite stronger-than-expected U.S. inflation
numbers
    * Malaysian ringgit and Thai baht lead regional gains

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Aditya Soni
    Feb 15 (Reuters) - Asian currencies firmed on Thursday,
boosted by heftier global risk appetites as the dollar slipped
despite stronger-than-anticipated U.S. inflation and a rise in
Treasury yields.  
    Tracking a rally in Wall Street, Asian stocks brushed aside
U.S. inflation data that showed that January core CPI posted the
largest gain in a year, raising pressure on the  Federal Reserve
to be more aggressive in raising U.S. interest rates this year.

    The dollar index weakened to a near 2-week low, after
the rebound in equities, evoking the idea that the greenback
might be in a period of persistent weakness.
    "The dollar advanced against other currencies when US CPI
inflation was released but pared the gains and weakened later as
U.S. equities proved more resilient, with the VIX index pulling
back further below 20," said Qi Gao, FX strategist (EM Asia) at
Scotiabank.
    "Continued risk appetite sent Asian currencies higher this
morning, I think risk appetite will likely continue as
synchronized global growth is expected to boost the EUR and JPY,
while bolstering EM Asian currencies as long as risk appetite
sustains."  
    The Malaysian ringgit led gains among regional
currencies as it firmed 0.6 percent, while the Indian rupee
 strengthened 0.3 percent. 
    The Philippine peso, the worst performing Asian
currency in 2018, also rode on the positive sentiment to
strengthen 0.3 percent, on track to end five-consecutive
sessions of losses. 
    The Singapore dollar firmed 0.1 percent after data
showed that the city--state's annual exports in January surged
despite another decline in electronics shipments, helped by a
jump in sales of petrochemical products.
    The Korean won, Chinese yuan and
Taiwan dollar did not trade on Thursday, because of the
Lunar New Year holiday. 
    The rupiah strengthened 0.5 percent, even though 
Indonesia's statistics bureau on Thursday said the country in
January had a $670 million trade deficit, while a Reuters poll
had forecast a $190 million surplus.
    
    THAI BAHT 
    The baht firmed 0.5 percent on Thursday. 
    Thailand's central bank left its benchmark interest rate
unchanged on Wednesday, near record lows, saying it expects
inflation to stay largely subdued even as Southeast Asia's
second-largest economy gains further momentum.
    The central bank said the economic outlook had improved on
the back of strong global demand for its exports, but recovering
domestic demand and inflation developments should be monitored.
    
    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0640 GMT.
    CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR
 Change on the day                                      
 Currency                     Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen                    106.480     107           +0.49
 Sing dlr                     1.313       1.3139        +0.11
 Baht                         31.290      31.451        +0.51
 Peso                         51.970      52.12         +0.29
 Rupiah                       13562.000   13626         +0.47
 Rupee                        63.918      64.09         +0.27
 Ringgit                      3.892       3.914         +0.57
                                                        
 Change so far in 2018                                  
 Currency                     Latest bid  End 2017      Pct Move
 Japan yen                    106.480     112.67        +5.81
 Sing dlr                     1.313       1.3373        +1.89
 Baht                         31.290      32.58         +4.12
 Peso                         51.970      49.93         -3.93
 Rupiah                       13562.000   13565         +0.02
 Rupee                        63.918      63.87         -0.07
 Ringgit                      3.892       4.0440        +3.91
 
 (Reporting by Aditya Soni in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard
Borsuk)
  
 
 
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