February 11, 2020 / 6:33 AM / 17 days ago

EM ASIA FX-Asian units gain on China stimulus hopes, drop in new virus cases

    * S.Korean won, Thai baht lead gains
    * Singapore dollar set to snap 11-day losing streak
    * Malaysian ringgit gains most in nearly 2 weeks 

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Shriya Ramakrishnan
    Feb 11 (Reuters) - Emerging Asian currencies strengthened on
Tuesday, as a drop in new coronavirus cases and hopes for more
stimulus by Beijing to prop up a virus-stricken economy improved
risk appetite.     
    Chinese policymakers have implemented a raft of measures,
including liquidity injections and import tariff exemptions for
materials used for epidemic control, to support an economy
jolted by the virus outbreak.
    "The strengthening of the yuan has flown through to the rest
of the Asian currency basket," said Khoon Goh, head of Asia
research at ANZ Banking Group (Singapore).
    The onshore yuan firmed 0.2% against the dollar,
set for the second straight session of gains. 
    A Chinese central bank advisor said on Tuesday the People's
Bank of China (PBOC) should consider lowering its benchmark
deposit rate to enable banks to reduce lending rates and help
small businesses.
    "As long as the coronavirus outbreak persists, the PBOC will
likely adopt a supportive stance with its policy settings. The
yuan may also be relied on to help offset the economic pressures
on the Chinese economy," said Han Tan, a market analyst at FXTM.
    The death toll from the coronavirus epidemic in mainland
China climbed past 1,000 on Tuesday, however, the number of new
confirmed cases fell.
    Currencies of export-focused countries, which have been
under selling pressure due to concerns about the economic
fallout of the virus outbreak and a stronger dollar, led gains
in the region.
    Both the South Korean won and the Thai baht
 appreciated 0.3%. 
    The Singapore dollar strengthened 0.2% and was set to
end a 11-day losing streak, while the Taiwan dollar
also advanced 0.2%. 
    Singapore expects a 25-30% drop in visitors this year due to
the new coronavirus outbreak, with a significant decline in
Chinese travel to the city-state expected to extend to other key
    The Malaysian ringgit firmed 0.2%, the most in nearly
two weeks. 
    Focus will now shift to the country's fourth-quarter
economic growth figure due on Wednesday, which is expected to
slow to its weakest since mid-2016 on lower private consumption
and external demand, according to a Reuters poll.
    The Philippine peso gained 0.2%. Data on Tuesday
showed the Philippines' trade deficit narrowed to its lowest
level in six months in December, due to a surge in exports.

    The Indian rupee and Indonesian rupiah edged
up 0.1% each.


 Change on at 0554 GMT                            
 Currency               Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen              109.890     109.74        -0.14
 Sing dlr               1.387       1.3894        +0.15
 Taiwan dlr             30.029      30.102        +0.24
 Korean won             1183.300    1187.1        +0.32
 Baht                   31.170      31.27         +0.32
 Peso                   50.700      50.78         +0.16
 Rupiah                 13680.000   13690         +0.07
 Rupee                  71.203      71.30         +0.14
 Ringgit                4.138       4.148         +0.24
 Yuan                   6.973       6.9875        +0.21
 Change so far in 2020                            
 Currency               Latest bid  End 2019      Pct Move
 Japan yen              109.890     108.61        -1.16
 Sing dlr               1.387       1.3444        -3.09
 Taiwan dlr             30.029      30.106        +0.26
 Korean won             1183.300    1156.40       -2.27
 Baht                   31.170      29.91         -4.04
 Peso                   50.700      50.65         -0.10
 Rupiah                 13680.000   13880         +1.46
 Rupee                  71.203      71.38         +0.25
 Ringgit                4.138       4.0890        -1.18
 Yuan                   6.973       6.9632        -0.14

 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by
Aditya Soni)
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