November 23, 2017 / 5:56 AM / 7 months ago

EM ASIA FX-Chinese yuan firms on weaker dollar, higher fixing

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    Nov 23 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies firmed on Thursday
as the U.S. dollar weakened after the release of the minutes of
the Federal Reserve's last meeting revealed dovish tones. 
    The minutes showed some of the central bankers' concerns
regarding the inflation outlook, with emphasis placed on
economic data in determining the timing of future rate rises.
    "The narrative in the Asian currencies is almost like a
reflationary storyline. That is really spilling over from last
week in the sense we have had just continual positive GDP prints
across the Asian space and this has just got everybody wondering
what is the next central bank narrative going to be," said
Stepehen Innes, head of trading for Asia at Oanda in Singapore.
    Local currencies have been supported by strong economic
data, with the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand having
reported third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) numbers
which have beaten expectations since Nov. 16. Malaysia grew at
the fastest pace in over three years.
    The Korean won firmed for the third day and was
0.14 percent stronger, the second most in the region, with a
week to go for the Bank of Korea's monetary policy meeting with
expectations of a rate hike to be announced on Nov. 30.
    The Taiwanese dollar, likewise, strengthened for
the third consecutive day while the Taiwanese benchmark equity
index rose gained 0.38 percent. The index hit its highest in 27
years on Wednesday, boosted by information technology stocks.  
    Indonesia's rupiah and the Indian rupee
gained 0.09 percent and 0.14 percent on the day, respectively.  
    The Singapore dollar was marginally lower ahead of
industrial output data for October, while the city-state
reported GDP numbers well ahead of expectations and updated its
GDP forecast for the rest of the year. The currency had gained
for the previous two sessions.
    GDP in the third quarter grew the fastest in nearly four
years, rising to 5.2 percent from 4.6 percent a year previously.
However, core inflation in October remained steady at 1.5
    Singapore revised its full-year 2017 growth estimate to 3.0
percent to 3.5 percent due to improved global demand.
    A Ministry of Trade and Industry official said monetary
policy was "appropriate" in 2017.
    The yuan firmed the most in the region, over 0.3
percent, on Thursday after the People's Bank of China (PBOC) set
the fixing rate at the srongest in five weeks.
    The yuan's official midpoint was set at 6.6021,
0.41 percent firmer than the previous fix of 6.6290.
    The yuan breached the key mark of 6.6 to the dollar for the
first time since Nov. 2 and liquidity tightness in the offshore
yuan market eased on Thursday with its borrowing costs falling
back to normal level.

    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0531 GMT.
 Change on the day at 0531 GMT                          
 Currency                     Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen                    111.29      111.2         -0.08
 Sing dlr                     1.3474      1.3468        -0.04
 Taiwan dlr                   29.989      30.020        +0.10
 Korean won                   1088        1089.1        +0.14
 Baht                         32.710      32.72         +0.03
 Peso                         50.650      50.62         -0.06
 Rupiah*                      13512       13525         +0.10
 Rupee*                       64.82       64.91         +0.14
 Ringgit                      4.112       4.11          -0.05
 Yuan                         6.593       6.6142        +0.33
 * Closed for market holiday                            
 Change so far in 2017                                  
 Currency                     Latest bid  End 2016      Pct Move
 Japan yen                    111.29      117.07        +5.19
 Sing dlr                     1.3474      1.4490        +7.54
 Taiwan dlr                   29.989      32.279        +7.64
 Korean won                   1088        1207.70       +11.04
 Baht                         32.710      35.80         +9.45
 Peso                         50.650      49.72         -1.84
 Rupiah                       13512       13470         -0.31
 Rupee                        64.820      67.92         +4.78
 Ringgit                      4.112       4.4845        +9.06
 Yuan                         6.593       6.9467        +5.37

 (Reporting by Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru, Additional reporting
by Karthika Namboothiri; Editing by Kim Coghill)
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