February 27, 2018 / 6:26 AM / 4 months ago

EM ASIA FX-Most Asian currencies barely move before Fed chair's testimony

    * Philippine's peso biggest drag in region
    * Indian rupee edges down 0.2 percent 
    * Chinese yuan inches up slightly 

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Christina Martin
    Feb 27 (Reuters) - Most emerging Asian currencies, similar
to the dollar, moved only marginally on Tuesday as markets
awaited the first U.S. congressional testimony by new Federal
Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.
    The dollar edged down slightly, but was still above its
three-year low. The dollar's index against a basket of
six major currencies inched down 0.1 percent to 89.728. 
    Powell's testimony later in the day is seen as critical for
financial markets at a time many investors are nervous about the
Fed's policy normalisation following years of stimulus after the
financial crisis almost a decade ago. 
    The 10-year U.S. Treasuries yield eased to 2.864
percent, dropping further from its four-year peak of 2.957
percent touched on Feb 21, driven by month-end buying as well as
position adjustments ahead of the testimony. 
    Among Asian currencies, the Philippine peso was
the biggest drag, falling as much 0.4 percent, marking its
biggest intraday percentage loss in over a week.
    The peso has been the weakest Asian currency this year,
shedding more than 4 percent against the dollar, partly due to
concerns on trade and current account deficits. A Reuters poll
last week saw investors turn more bearish on the peso, with
short positions at their highest since November 2016.

    Malaysia's ringgit shed about 0.2 percent. The Indian
rupee also declined the same percentage before paring
some of its loss. 
    The Singaporean dollar and the Indonesian rupiah
 were little changed. 
    The Korean won firmed 0.1 percent against the
dollar. 
    The Bank of Korea held its benchmark interest rates at 1.50
percent due to muted inflationary pressure and caution ahead of
any further monetary tightening in the United States.

    The Taiwan dollar, the Thai baht and
China's yuan also inched up 0.1 percent. 
        
    CHINA's YUAN
    The Chinese currency gained against the dollar on Tuesday,
helped by the combination of a higher official midpoint and
corporate sales of the greenback.
    Prior to market opening, the People's Bank of China (PBOC)
raised its official yuan midpoint the most in nearly one month,
to 6.3146 per dollar, reflecting a stronger spot yuan
performance from a day earlier.
    As of midday, onshore spot yuan was changing hands at
6.3062, 41 pips firmer than the previous late session close and
0.13 percent stronger than the midpoint.
    
    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0535 GMT.
    
    CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR
 Currency          Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen         106.880     106.92        +0.04
 Sing dlr          1.317       1.3157        -0.11
 Taiwan dlr        29.212      29.235        +0.08
 Korean won        1072.300    1073.4        +0.10
 Baht              31.280      31.3          +0.06
 Peso              52.050      51.86         -0.37
 Rupiah            13665.000   13655         -0.07
 Rupee             64.875      64.79         -0.13
 Ringgit           3.910       3.901         -0.23
 Yuan              6.307       6.3103        +0.06
                                             
 Change in 2018                              
 Currency          Latest bid  End 2017      Pct Move
 Japan yen         106.880     112.67        +5.42
 Sing dlr          1.317       1.3373        +1.53
 Taiwan dlr        29.212      29.848        +2.18
 Korean won        1072.300    1070.50       -0.17
 Baht              31.280      32.58         +4.16
 Peso              52.050      49.93         -4.07
 Rupiah            13665.000   13565         -0.73
 Rupee             64.875      63.87         -1.55
 Ringgit           3.910       4.0440        +3.43
 Yuan              6.307       6.5069        +3.18
 

 (Reporting by Christina Martin in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard
Borsuk)
  
 
 
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