May 7, 2019 / 6:20 AM / 2 months ago

EM ASIA FX-Most Asian currencies firm on hopes for China-U.S. talks, baht leads gains

    * Thai baht is the region's biggest gainer
    * Yuan extends declines for a fourth session
    * Malaysia market awaits rate decision

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Shriya Ramakrishnan
    May 7 (Reuters) - Most emerging Asian currencies rose
against the dollar on Tuesday, on hopes trade negotiations
between the United States and China will resume this week and
make progress in spite of President Donald Trump's threat to
raise tariffs on more Chinese goods.
    China's foreign ministry has confirmed that a Chinese
delegation is preparing to go to United States for talks.

    Trump's threats to raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese
goods and target hundreds of billions more soon roiled Asian
financial markets on Monday. 
    "Markets may be looking at U.S.-China negotiations from a
glass half-full perspective," Chang Wei Liang, an FX strategist
at Mizuho Bank said.
    "The response from the Chinese side has been quite muted -
they haven't cancelled trade talks with Washington so there is a
chance they can find some common ground to defer implementation
of tariffs for a second time." 
     The South Korean won, trading again after a
holiday on Monday, strengthened 0.1 percent against the
greenback, while the Singapore dollar edged higher. 
    The Malaysian ringgit barely moved ahead of the
central bank policy decision due at 0700 GMT.
    A slim majority of analysts in a Reuters poll forecast
Malaysia will to cut its benchmark rate by 25 basis points to
3.00 percent to cope with slowing growth. 
    The Malaysian government has already cut growth forecasts
for the year and projected a drop in export expansion, as it
continues to face risks from slowing global growth and the
U.S.-China trade war.
    The Philippine peso moved in and out of positive
territory after data showed annual inflation slowed for a sixth
consecutive month in April, reinforcing views the central bank
will loosen its grip on monetary policy to support economic
    China's yuan weakened for a fourth straight
session, shedding 0.3 percent to the dollar. Prior to market
opening, China's central bank lowered its official yuan midpoint
to a fresh 2-1/2-month low at 6.7614 per dollar.
    The Thai baht which resumed trading after a
holiday, strengthened 0.4 percent against the dollar, the
biggest intraday gain in more than a month.
    Chang of Mizuho said that with uncertainties over a
U.S.-China trade deal, manufacturers may be looking to diversify
production away from China, and Thailand could be one of the
    The baht remains emerging Asia's top performing currency
this year, after outperforming peers in 2018.
    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0540 GMT.
 Currency               Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen              110.620     110.76        +0.13
 Sing dlr               1.362       1.3630        +0.04
 Taiwan dlr             30.908      30.925        +0.06
 Korean won             1168.500    1170          +0.13
 Baht                   31.890      32.02         +0.41
 Peso                   51.910      51.92         +0.02
 Rupiah                 14300.000   14290         -0.07
 Rupee                  69.380      69.41         +0.04
 Ringgit                4.146       4.146         +0.00
 Yuan                   6.780       6.7622        -0.26
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Currency               Latest bid  End 2018      Pct Move
 Japan yen              110.620     109.56        -0.96
 Sing dlr               1.362       1.3627        +0.02
 Taiwan dlr             30.908      30.733        -0.57
 Korean won             1168.500    1115.70       -4.52
 Baht                   31.890      32.55         +2.07
 Peso                   51.910      52.47         +1.08
 Rupiah                 14300.000   14375         +0.52
 Rupee                  69.380      69.77         +0.56
 Ringgit                4.146       4.1300        -0.39
 Yuan                   6.780       6.8730        +1.37

 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru, Editing by
Richard Borsuk)
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