April 3, 2018 / 5:28 AM / 4 months ago

EM ASIA FX-Most Asian currencies ease on rising trade tensions

    * S.Korean won biggest loser in region
    * Singapore dollar firms amid largely weak EM Asia FX

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Christina Martin
    April 3 - Most emerging Asian currencies slipped on Tuesday,
as the dollar steadied against the yen after three straight
sessions of declines on rising trade tensions between the United
States and China.
    China imposed extra tariffs on 128 U.S. products, in
response to U.S. tariffs on imports of aluminium and steel,
deepening a dispute between the world's two biggest economies
and stoking concerns about the impact on global growth.
    On Tuesday, China's ambassador to Washington said Beijing
would take counter-measures of the "same proportion" and scale
if the United States imposes further tariffs on Chinese goods
from a trade probe, state television reported.
    China's tit-for-tat tariffs hurt the dollar, although it saw
some buying during early Asian trading on Tuesday. The dollar
index was still a shade softer against a basket of
    Wall Street shares plunged on Monday as investors fled
technology stocks amid resurgent trade war worries, with key
indexes trading below their 200-day moving averages and the S&P
500 closing below that pivotal technical level for the first
time since June 2016. 
    "Asian equities opened in the red this morning, following
the sell-off in U.S. equities overnight. Persistent price action
below 200 DMA (day moving averages), trade war fears and UST
yield curve compression could result in a self-inflicted
risk-off cycle," said Christopher Wong, a Singapore-based FX
strategist with Maybank.
    "It is a cautious start to the week for EM Asian FX. We
believe equity markets will be closely watched in the short term
for cues on FX direction."
    The South Korean won was the biggest loser among
Asian currencies, down as much as 0.3 percent, after hitting its
strongest intraday level since Oct. 2014 on Monday. 
    South Korea's government official in charge of foreign
exchange said on Tuesday that authorities will act to curb sharp
fluctuations in the won if necessary.
    The Thai baht and China's yuan both slid
as much as 0.2 percent, while the Philippine peso inched
down 0.1 percent.
    Meanwhile, the Singapore dollar firmed as much as
0.2 percent, and the Indian rupee edged up 0.1 percent.
    Singapore's central bank is expected to tighten monetary
policy in April for the first time in six years, with economic
growth solid and the labour market showing signs of improvement,
a Reuters poll of economists found. 
    The South Korean won, which hit a three-and-a-half-year high
on Monday, weakened as much as 0.2 percent on Tuesday. 
    South Korea's currency authorities said there is no change
in their stance to take action in cases of high currency
volatility after the Korean won hit a 3-1/2-year high on Monday.
    The United States often presses Seoul to disclose details of
currency interventions to improve transparency of its currency
    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0455 GMT.
 Change on the day at   0455 GMT                  
 Currency               Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen              105.950     105.88        -0.07
 Sing dlr               1.310       1.3124        +0.16
 Taiwan dlr             29.145      29.142        -0.01
 Korean won             1058.600    1056.6        -0.19
 Baht                   31.200      31.15         -0.16
 Peso                   52.063      52.035        -0.05
 Rupiah                 13765.000   13753         -0.09
 Rupee                  65.095      65.17         +0.12
 Ringgit                3.864       3.86          -0.10
 Yuan                   6.288       6.2810        -0.11
 Change so far in 2018                            
 Currency               Latest bid  End 2017      Pct Move
 Japan yen              105.950     112.67        +6.34
 Sing dlr               1.310       1.3373        +2.06
 Taiwan dlr             29.145      29.848        +2.41
 Korean won             1058.600    1070.50       +1.12
 Baht                   31.200      32.58         +4.42
 Peso                   52.063      49.93         -4.10
 Rupiah                 13765.000   13565         -1.45
 Rupee                  65.095      63.87         -1.88
 Ringgit                3.864       4.0440        +4.66
 Yuan                   6.288       6.5069        +3.48

 (Reporting by Christina Martin in Bengaluru
Editing by Jacqueline Wong)
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