November 21, 2019 / 5:56 AM / 3 months ago

EM ASIA FX-Asian units dealt one-two punch by HK bill, trade deal concerns

    * S. Korean won leads losses 
    * Indonesian rupiah at 1 month low ahead of central bank
    * Singapore dollar losses mitigated by strong GDP

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Ambar Warrick
    Nov 21 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies pulled back on
Thursday as fresh worries about Sino-U.S. trade negotiations as
well as widening diplomatic rifts between Washington and its
major trading partners sapped appetite for units in the region.
    Reports that the U.S. President would sign a bill to support
Hong Kong protesters caused concerns that U.S. human rights
concerns would bleed into trade talks with Beijing.
    That combined with reports that an interim trade deal
between the world's two largest economies could be delayed to
    The broadening fears about trade were compounded by poor
export data from Asian exporting nations, with the South Korean
won leading regional losses and safe-havens such as
the U.S. dollar and the Japanese yen finding
    "Asia has been nervous about the state of trade play all
week with equities ex-China underperforming," said Jeffrey
Halley, Senior Market Analyst, Asia Pacific, OANDA, in a note.
"The early price action this morning suggests that the cautious
walk to the exit may be turning into an unruly every man for
    The Indonesian rupiah touched its weakest level in
one month to the dollar, ahead of a central bank rate decision
expected later in the day. 
    The bank is widely expected to stand pat on its benchmark
rate, having trimmed policy for the four prior months to boost
Southeast Asia's largest economy.
    "We expect Bank Indonesia to pause and wait for impact from
previous cuts to gradually materialise before easing further, if
necessary," said Mizuho's Zhu Huani, in a note to clients. 
    The Thai baht dipped 0.07% to the dollar after data
showed exports dropped more than expected in October, due to an
overly strong baht.
    The Singapore dollar trended slightly lower as the
weak risk appetite was somewhat mitigated by faster-than-
initially-estimated third-quarter GDP growth.
    The South Korean won was in particular focus due to dismal
trade data and reports of the United States withdrawing troops
from the country.
    The currency lost up to 0.76% against the dollar, touching
its weakest level in one month. 
    Exports fell 9.6% in the first 20 days of November from a
year earlier, as trade ructions continued to chip away at demand
for its electronics goods.
    South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo reported on Thursday that
the United States is considering a significant cut to its troop
numbers in South Korea if Seoul does not contribute more to the
cost of the deployment.
    The debt burden at South Korean households also grew at its
weakest on-year pace in more than 15 years in the September
quarter, data showed, indicating consumption was still weak.

    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar on Thursday.
 Change on the day at   0504 GMT                  
 Currency               Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen              108.500     108.6         +0.09
 Sing dlr               1.363       1.3620        -0.04
 Taiwan dlr             30.514      30.500        -0.05
 Korean won             1178.500    1170.1        -0.71
 Baht                   30.200      30.18         -0.07
 Peso                   50.930      50.93          0.00
 Rupiah                 14110.000   14090         -0.14
 Rupee                  71.810      71.81          0.00
 Ringgit                4.172       4.164         -0.19
 Yuan                   7.039       7.0364        -0.04
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Currency               Latest bid  End 2018      Pct Move
 Japan yen              108.500     109.56        +0.98
 Sing dlr               1.363       1.3627        +0.01
 Taiwan dlr             30.514      30.733        +0.72
 Korean won             1178.500    1115.70       -5.33
 Baht                   30.200      32.55         +7.78
 Peso                   50.930      52.47         +3.02
 Rupiah                 14110.000   14375         +1.88
 Rupee                  71.810      69.77         -2.84
 Ringgit                4.172       4.1300        -1.01
 Yuan                   7.039       6.8730        -2.36

 (Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam
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