December 22, 2017 / 5:42 AM / 6 months ago

EM ASIA FX-Most Asian currencies barely move ahead of Christmas holidays

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Chandini Monnappa
    Dec 22 (Reuters) - Most emerging Asian currencies made small
moves on Friday, in thin trade, as investors avoided sizable
bets ahead of the holiday weekend, while the U.S dollar inched
up marginally.
    The dollar index, which gauges the U.S. currency
against a basket of six major rivals, was up 0.1 percent at
93.402. For the week, it was down 0.5 percent.
    The South Korean won, was the region's biggest
gainer, quoted at 1,079.6 per dollar on the onshore settlement
platform, 0.29 percent firmer than its previous close at
1,082.7.
    Traders said the won, on track for a second straight weekly
gain, advanced as exporter sold dollars as December neared its
end.
    "Most Asian currencies are trapped in narrow ranges ahead of
the long weekend and there is thin liquidity," said Christopher
Wong, an FX strategist with Maybank.
    The Malaysian ringgit was the weakest regional
currency on Friday morning, easing 0.3 percent against the
dollar.
    But Stephen Innes, head of trading in Asia-Pacific for Oanda
in Singapore, is upbeat on the Malaysian currency's outlook.
    "Given the improving domestic and external landscape and a
likely interest rate hike from the Central Bank of Malaysia in
early 2018, the ringgit is emerging as one of Asia's
most-promising currencies entering 2018," he said in a note on
Friday.
    The Taiwan dollar and the Indian rupee each
gained 0.1 percent, with the later for its sixth consecutive
weekly gain. 
    The Indonesian rupiah advanced for a second day after
Fitch Ratings on Thursday raised the country's sovereign rating
to one notch about the lowest investment grad.
    Fitch said the direction of macroeconomic and monetary
policies has made Southeast Asia's largest economy resilient to
external shocks.
    The rupiah is on track to strengthen this week, following
three weekly declines.
    
    THE CHINESE YUAN 
    The yuan inched up as much as 0.2 percent.
    "The expectations of more prudent monetary policy from the
People's Bank of China and the anticipation of strong investment
inflows in 2018 have the yuan basking in the limelight at year
end," Oanda's Innes wrote.
    The yuan was quoted at 6.5723 per U.S. dollar, and was on
track for its second week of gains.
    Prior to market opening on Friday, the People's Bank of
China set the midpoint rate at 6.5821 per dollar, 26
pips or 0.04 percent weaker than the previous fix of
6.5795.
    
    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0445 GMT.
    CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR

 Currency                     Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen                    113.32      113.32        +0.00
 Sing dlr                     1.3444      1.3432        -0.09
 Taiwan dlr                   29.964      29.988        +0.08
 Korean won                   1079        1082.7        +0.37
 Baht                         32.740      32.72         -0.06
 Peso                         50.270      50.24         -0.06
 Rupiah                       13548       13555         +0.05
 Rupee                        64.03       64.05         +0.04
 Ringgit                      4.088       4.076         -0.29
 Yuan                         6.572       6.5855        +0.20
                                                        
 Change so far in 2017                                  
 Currency                     Latest bid  End 2016      Pct Move
 Japan yen                    113.32      117.07        +3.31
 Sing dlr                     1.3444      1.4490        +7.78
 Taiwan dlr                   29.964      32.279        +7.73
 Korean won                   1079        1207.70       +11.96
 Baht                         32.740      35.80         +9.35
 Peso                         50.270      49.72         -1.09
 Rupiah                       13548       13470         -0.58
 Rupee                        64.025      67.92         +6.08
 Ringgit                      4.088       4.4845        +9.70
 Yuan                         6.572       6.9467        +5.70
 

 (Reporting by Chandini Monnappa in Bengaluru; Additional
reporting by Christina Martin; Editing by Richard Borsuk)
  
 
 
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