July 23, 2019 / 4:56 AM / a month ago

EM ASIA FX-Most Asia currencies slip on expected rate cuts, oil price pressure

    * Coming ECB, Fed decisions in focus
    * Thai baht slips to 1-week low
    * Middle East tensions push oil price up

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Aby Jose Koilparambil
    July 23 (Reuters) - Most emerging Asian currencies weakened
on Tuesday against a stronger dollar as the investors
remain focused on anticipated rate cuts by European Central Bank
(ECB) and the U.S. Federal Reserve amid increasing signs of a
global economic slowdown.
    Investors expect the ECB on Thursday and the Fed on July 31
to announce interest rate cuts. Tuesday's price movements were
small, given that monetary easing is not a fresh theme.
    In spite of a slew of strong recent U.S. economic data, Fed
officials have sounded decidedly dovish, thanks to persisting
concerns over the U.S.-China trade tensions and weak inflation
data. All appears set for the central bank's first rate
reduction in a decade.
    Last week, South Korea and Indonesia cut their benchmark
interest rates for the first time in years as Asian economies
feel additional pressure amid a slowdown in China's growth to
near 30-year lows and trade tensions.
    The currencies of major oil importers in the region
including India, Indonesia and Thailand have come under pressure
 following Iran's seizure last week of a British tanker in the
Strait of Hormuz, which has raised global prices. 
    OCBC Bank analysts said in a note that continued tensions
with Iran would support crude oil prices. On Tuesday, prices
edged higher amid lingering concerns about possible supply
disruptions in the Middle East, but an overall weaker demand
outlook kept a lid on gains.
    The Thai baht depreciated as much as 0.3% to a
one-week low.
    The Indonesian rupiah and the Indian rupee
lost up to 0.2% each, as did the Malaysian ringgit and
the Philippine peso.
    The Singapore dollar fell 0.2% ahead of the June
inflation data on Tuesday. A Reuters poll predicted that the
city-state's headline and core inflation rates likely eased in
the month.
    Data on Monday, in a sign of further strains on Asia's
trade-reliant economies in the near term, showed Taiwan export
orders contracted for an eighth straight month in June, with
global companies increasingly hesitant to make new investments
in machinery as the China-U.S. trade war wears on.
    The Taiwan dollar was little changed on Tuesday.
 Change on the day at   0426 GMT                  
 Currency               Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen              108.060     107.86        -0.19
 Sing dlr               1.363       1.3607        -0.18
 Taiwan dlr             31.077      31.083        +0.02
 Korean won             1178.200    1178.3        +0.01
 Baht                   30.910      30.84         -0.23
 Peso                   51.150      51.1          -0.10
 Rupiah                 13970.000   13940         -0.21
 Rupee                  69.018      68.91         -0.15
 Ringgit                4.117       4.111         -0.15
 Yuan                   6.883       6.8817        -0.02
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Currency               Latest bid  End 2018      Pct Move
 Japan yen              108.060     109.56        +1.39
 Sing dlr               1.363       1.3627        -0.04
 Taiwan dlr             31.077      30.733        -1.11
 Korean won             1178.200    1115.70       -5.30
 Baht                   30.910      32.55         +5.31
 Peso                   51.150      52.47         +2.58
 Rupiah                 13970.000   14375         +2.90
 Rupee                  69.018      69.77         +1.09
 Ringgit                4.117       4.1300        +0.32
 Yuan                   6.883       6.8730        -0.15

 (Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by
Richard Borsuk)
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