October 5, 2018 / 6:03 AM / 3 months ago

EM ASIA FX-Asian units move only marginally at the end of a tough week

    * EM Asia trades in tight range ahead of U.S. payroll data
    * Indonesian rupiah, South Korean won worst weekly
performers
    * Indian rupee slightly up before c.bank rate decision

 (Adds details on baht, rupee, won; updates prices)
    By Ambar Warrick
    Oct 5 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies barely moved on
Friday, remaining on track for large weekly losses as broad
dollar strength and higher oil prices continued to batter
emerging markets.
     Investors awaited U.S. payroll data, later in the day, that
could give clues on whether the Federal Reserve could turn more
hawkish. The Fed's 2018 hikes and statements have underpinned
the dollar and driven money away from emerging Asian units in
recent months. 
    After emerging currencies "remained under the weather" on
Thursday, investors are expected to stay "inherently on the long
side with respect to the dollar ahead of the non-farm payrolls
(data)", Singapore's OCBC Bank said on Friday.
    Getting hit particularly hard have been currencies from
countries that import hefty volumes of oil, whose price has been
rising.
     On Friday, the biggest loser was the Thai baht,
which slid 0.7 percent against the dollar and was at its weakest
in more than 3 weeks.
     While a solid outlook for the Thai economy has shielded the
currency this year, it has recently come under pressure from
higher oil prices and the emerging markets sell-off.
    For the week, the baht was down 1.6 percent, putting it on
track for its biggest weekly loss since late June.
    The Indonesian rupiah traded slightly lower for the
day.  It was down nearly 2 percent for the week, heading for its
biggest weekly loss in more than two years.     
     To support the fragile currency, Indonesian authorities
have made five rate hikes since mid-May and announced measures
to curb imports to ease the country's current account deficit.
    The Indian rupee edged up slightly ahead of a rate
decision from the Reserve Bank of India on Friday. The rupee has
been hammered by higher oil prices, and is the worst performer
in Asia this year.
    A Reuters poll expects the central bank to raise rates to
protect the rupee.
    The currency was set to lose about 1.5 percent in its sixth
straight weekly decline.
    The South Korean won, like the rupiah, was headed
for a loss of about 2 percent this week. 
    While South Korea's strong exports had kept the won steady,
concerns about the country's close relation to China,
particularly with regards to electronics exports have weighed on
sentiment. The won was due to snap three weeks of gains.
    Chinese markets remained closed on Friday. They will reopen
on Monday after a week-long holiday.
    
    ASIA FX POSITIONING
    Investors continued to bet that Asian currencies would
weaken against the dollar, a Reuters poll showed, with bearish
bets increasing for the rupee and rupiah.
    Short positions on the Philippine peso also piled up
as the country's central bank struggles to tame stubbornly high
inflation that undermines its GDP growth target. Inflation in
September accelerated to the highest level in nearly a decade. 

    Bearish bets on the Thai baht reduced slightly. 
    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0509 GMT.
 CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR                              
 Change on the day                                      
 Currency                     Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen                    113.900     113.9         +0.00
 Sing dlr                     1.382       1.3807        -0.09
 Taiwan dlr                   30.838      30.792        -0.15
 Korean won                   1131.100    1129.9        -0.11
 Baht                         32.840      32.61         -0.70
 Peso                         54.270      54.32         +0.09
 Rupiah                       15180.000   15165         -0.10
 Rupee                        73.575      73.58         +0.00
 Ringgit                      4.145       4.145         +0.00
                                                        
 Change so far in 2018                                  
 Currency                     Latest bid  End 2017      Pct Move
 Japan yen                    113.900     112.67        -1.08
 Sing dlr                     1.382       1.3373        -3.23
 Taiwan dlr                   30.838      29.848        -3.21
 Korean won                   1131.100    1070.50       -5.36
 Baht                         32.840      32.58         -0.79
 Peso                         54.270      49.93         -8.00
 Rupiah                       15180.000   13565         -10.64
 Rupee                        73.575      63.87         -13.19
 Ringgit                      4.145       4.0440        -2.44
 Yuan                         6.873       6.5069        -5.32
 
 (Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard
Borsuk)
  
 
 
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