April 13, 2018 / 5:59 AM / 12 days ago

EM ASIA FX-Most Asian currencies dip as Trump softens Syria rhetoric

    * Taiwan dollar hits over 8-week low 
    * Singapore's MAS tightens monetary policy 

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Christina Martin
    April 13 - Most emerging Asian currencies edged lower on
Friday after U.S. President Donald Trump tempered speculation of
an imminent missile attack on Syria, lending support to the
dollar. 
    The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies
 was a shade higher at 89.758. It rose 0.2 percent the
previous day, ending a four-day losing streak.
    Trump said in a tweet on Thursday that a possible attack on
Syria could occur "very soon or not so soon at all," soothing
fears of confrontation with Russia, and lifting U.S. Treasury
yields as well as financial stocks.
    Trump has also asked his trade advisers to look at
re-joining the Trans Pacific Partnership, a multinational trade
pact he withdrew the country from early last year. 
    Among Asian currencies, the Taiwan dollar hit more
than an 8-week low, down as much as 0.3 percent and on track for
its second weekly session of losses. It was the worst performer
in the region.
    The South Korean won lost as much as 0.2 percent,
while the Malaysian ringgit inched down 0.1 percent. 
    The ringgit is headed for its third straight week of losses.
    Meanwhile, the Philippine peso, the Indian rupee
 and the Indonesian rupiah posted marginal gains.
    China's yuan was little changed. While data
showed exports unexpectedly fell in March, they posted solid
growth for the first-quarter as a whole. China's trade surplus
with the United States soared nearly 20 percent in the quarter,
however, which could add to already heated trade tensions with
Washington. 
    Markets in Thailand were closed for a holiday. 
    
    SINGAPORE DOLLAR 
    The Singapore dollar edged up 0.1 percent, after
the central bank tightened monetary policy for the first time in
six years on Friday, saying the economy is expected to continue
growing steadily. 
    The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said it would
slightly increase the slope of the Singapore dollar's policy
band from zero percent previously, while keeping the width and
mid-point of the band unchanged. 
    "The MAS's decision to link the return to a mild SGD
appreciation stance to global trade tensions, coupled with a
stable inflation outlook for Singapore suggested no urgency to
follow through with another tightening at the next review in
October," said Philip Sung Seng Wee, senior currency economist 
at DBS Bank. 
    "Overall, our view remains intact for USD/SGD to rise
towards 1.38 for the rest of the year."
    The currency, however, is on track to record a weekly
session of declines. 
    
    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0509 GMT.
    CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR
 Change on the day at 0509 GMT                    
 Currency               Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen              107.380     107.32        -0.06
 Sing dlr               1.311       1.3123        +0.08
 Taiwan dlr             29.350      29.260        -0.31
 Korean won             1070.700    1069.5        -0.11
 Peso                   51.963      52.03         +0.13
 Rupiah                 13758.000   13769         +0.08
 Rupee                  65.220      65.26         +0.05
 Ringgit                3.878       3.875         -0.08
 Yuan                   6.292       6.2922        +0.01
                                                  
 Change so far in 2018                            
 Currency               Latest bid  End 2017      Pct Move
 Japan yen              107.380     112.67        +4.93
 Sing dlr               1.311       1.3373        +1.98
 Taiwan dlr             29.350      29.848        +1.70
 Korean won             1070.700    1070.50       -0.02
 Peso                   51.963      49.93         -3.91
 Rupiah                 13758.000   13565         -1.40
 Rupee                  65.220      63.87         -2.07
 Ringgit                3.878       4.0440        +4.28
 Yuan                   6.292       6.5069        +3.42
    

 (Reporting By Christina Martin in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim
Coghill)
  
 
 
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