April 27, 2018 / 6:39 AM / a month ago

EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies steady ahead of U.S GDP, Korean leaders meeting supports won

    * S. Korean won best performer
    * U.S. GDP in focus
    * Taiwan dollar set for 4th week of losses

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Chris Thomas
    April 27 (Reuters) - The South Korean won was firmer on
Friday, supported by hopes of a deeper thawing of relations
after leaders of the two Koreas held a historic meeting, while
most other emerging Asian currencies trod water ahead of key.
U.S. economic data.
    The won rose as much as 0.6 percent against the
dollar, but was set to post its worst week in six. For the day,
the currency, which is closely linked to inflows into the equity
market, was the best performer in the region.
    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President
Moon Jae-in met at the heavily fortified demilitarised zone
between the countries on Friday in the first summit for the two
countries in over a decade, sparking hopes of peace between the
nations.
    "What we are seeing right now, as the markets are continuing
to buy into this drop in the geopolitical risk in the region,
which in my view, from an equity perspective is massively
amazing," said Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia Pacific,
Oanda.
    Most other currencies in the region traded in a tight range
ahead of the release of U.S. GDP data. 
    "Looking at the day ahead, tonight’s GDP in the U.S. is the
clear highlight," Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at CFD
and FX provider AxiTrader, said in a note. "Q1 is notoriously
weak over the past decade so it’s likely a weak number will be
looked through."
    The U.S. economy likely slowed in the first quarter as
growth in consumer spending braked sharply, a Reuters survey
showed, but the setback is expected to be temporary against the
backdrop of a tightening labor market and large fiscal stimulus.

    The dollar held near a 3-1/2-month high against a basket of
currencies as higher U.S. yields prompted an unwinding of short
positions in the currency while the euro was hampered by a
dovish tone from the European Central Bank.
    "I think the rise in U.S. yields as a trend is there, its
just a question of how fast," said Sim Moh Siong, FX strategist
at Bank of Singapore. 
    "The dollar boost seems to be taking charge ahead of the Fed
meet next week… The picture still stays positive for the dollar
in the near term but in the medium, it’s debatable whether it
will last."
    The Indonesian rupiah was steady at 13,885 at 0518
GMT, but was set to finish the week slightly weaker, having
experienced heavy foreign outflows.
    The country's central bank has tried to mitigate rupiah
risks by buying sovereign bonds and selling foreign currencies.

    Band Indonesia Governor Agus Martowardojo said on Thursday
he would be prepared to adjust the benchmark interest rate if
weakness in the rupiah currency threatened its inflation target
or the stability of the financial system.
    The Singapore dollar, Indian rupee and
Philippine peso were slightly firmer, while the Malaysian
ringgit and the Thai baht were a touch weaker.
    Taiwan's dollar recovered from five sessions of
losses to rise 0.3 percent.
    The currency is headed for its fourth straight week of
losses. The island's first-quarter economic growth data is due
later in the day and is seen slowing given softening in global
demand for technology goods.
        
    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0538 GMT.

    CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR
 Currency                     Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen                    109.250     109.29        +0.04
 Sing dlr                     1.327       1.3277        +0.08
 Taiwan dlr                   29.619      29.705        +0.29
 Korean won                   1075.300    1080.9        +0.52
 Baht                         31.590      31.55         -0.13
 Peso                         51.908      51.927        +0.04
 Rupiah                       13885.000   13885         +0.00
 Rupee                        66.685      66.75         +0.10
 Ringgit                      3.918       3.915         -0.08
 Yuan                         6.337       6.3315        -0.09
 Closed for market holiday                              
 Change so far in 2018                                  
 Currency                     Latest bid  End 2017      Pct Move
 Japan yen                    109.250     112.67        +3.13
 Sing dlr                     1.327       1.3373        +0.80
 Taiwan dlr                   29.619      29.848        +0.77
 Korean won                   1075.300    1070.50       -0.45
 Baht                         31.590      32.58         +3.13
 Peso                         51.908      49.977        -3.72
 Rupiah                       13885.000   13565         -2.30
 Rupee                        66.685      63.87         -4.22
 Ringgit                      3.918       4.0440        +3.22
 Yuan                         6.337       6.5069        +2.67
 

 (Reporting by Chris Thomas in Bengaluru; Additional reporting
by Ambar Warrick; Editing by Sam Holmes)
  
 
 
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