April 30, 2019 / 6:46 AM / 3 months ago

EM ASIA FX-Korean won slips to 2-year low; rupee and peso gain

    * S. Korean won weakest in more than 2 years
    * Peso on track to be best monthly performer
    * Rupee touches strongest level in a week

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Aby Jose Koilparambil
    April 30 (Reuters) - South Korea's won fell to its weakest
in more than two years on risk aversion after bearish readings
on China manufacturing activity on Tuesday, although India's
rupee and Philippine peso were resilient on softer oil prices.
    The won weakened up to 0.5 percent, also dampened
by a drop in Samsung Electronics' first-quarter profit. Korea's
equities index was also among top losers in the region.
    The won is set to be the worst performer in the region this
month, shedding about 2.5 percent in April and has weakened the
most so far this year, dropping 4.2 percent.
    South Korea's March industrial production fell 2.8 percent
from a year earlier, data showed on Tuesday, and the country's
exports are expected to contract for the fifth straight month.

    A global powerhouse for semiconductors and electronic
products, South Korea has been especially hard hit by a slump in
global tech demand. Data last week showed Asia's fourth-largest
economy suffered its worst quarter since the global financial
crisis, as investments and exports slumped in response to
Sino-U.S. trade tensions and cooling Chinese demand.
    The rupee and peso led gains buoyed by a retracement in
crude prices which dipped on expectations rising output from the
United States and producer club OPEC would offset most of the
shortfall expected from U.S. sanctions on Iran.
    A pullback in oil prices would benefit net importers in Asia
including India and Philippines.
    Bearish Chinese factory and services sector activity in
April also weighed on crude prices, traders said, as it
suggested Asia's biggest economy is still struggling to regain
    Factory activity in China expanded for a second straight
month in April but at a much slower pace, dousing optimism that
a recovery would put a floor under global growth.
    The Indian rupee gained up to 0.4 percent to its
strongest level in a week. The currency, however, has weakened
about 1 percent this month due to rising oil prices.
    The Philippine peso strengthened about 0.3 percent to
scale a one-week peak, having gained about 1.3 percent in April
and is on track to be the best monthly performer in the region. 
    The Chinese yuan, the Malaysian ringgit
and the Singapore dollar weakened slightly while the Thai
baht and the Taiwan dollar were little
    Philip Wee, FX strategist at DBS Group Research, said in a
research note that May is likely to be another challenging month
for currencies.
    "Barring negative surprises in this Friday's U.S. monthly
jobs report, less attention will be paid to White House pressure
on the Fed to cut rates given the better-than-expected U.S.
growth and higher oil prices," Wee said.
    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0546 GMT.
 Currency               Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen              111.520     111.63        +0.10
 Sing dlr               1.362       1.3613        -0.07
 Taiwan dlr             30.898      30.897        -0.00
 Korean won             1164.200    1158.5        -0.49
 Baht                   31.930      31.92         -0.03
 Peso                   52.020      52.13         +0.21
 Rupiah                 14225.000   14195         -0.21
 Rupee                  69.783      70.01         +0.33
 Ringgit                4.134       4.132         -0.05
 Yuan                   6.738       6.7346        -0.05
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Currency               Latest bid  End 2018      Pct Move
 Japan yen              111.520     109.56        -1.76
 Sing dlr               1.362       1.3627        +0.03
 Taiwan dlr             30.898      30.733        -0.53
 Korean won             1164.200    1115.70       -4.17
 Baht                   31.930      32.55         +1.94
 Peso                   52.020      52.47         +0.87
 Rupiah                 14225.000   14375         +1.05
 Rupee                  69.783      69.77         -0.02
 Ringgit                4.134       4.1300        -0.10
 Yuan                   6.738       6.8730        +2.01
 (Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru
Editing by Jacqueline Wong)
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