April 5, 2018 / 5:00 AM / 20 days ago

EM ASIA FX-Most Asian currencies firm slightly as trade war fears recede

    * Indian rupee biggest advancer among EM Asian FX
    * China, Taiwan markets shut 

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Christina Martin
    April 5 (Reuters) - Most emerging Asian currencies inched up
slightly on Thursday on hopes that a full-blown trade war
between the United States and China can be averted.
    The dollar was a shade higher at 106.845 yen, having
pulled higher from a low of 105.990 set the previous day.
    Global markets sank on Wednesday after China unveiled
tit-for-tat tariffs against key U.S. imports, hours after
Washington released a list of Chinese goods it planned to
target.
    But sentiment recovered after the United States expressed
willingness to negotiate a resolution to the trade fight.     
Neither side has set an effective date for the measures, giving
them some room to maneuvre.
    Still, gains in Asian currencies were muted, reflecting
lingering nervousness about the potential fallout for the
region's trade-reliant economies. Nomura believes China's
hi-tech parts suppliers such as Taiwan, Malaysia, South Korea
and Singapore could be hit harder by U.S. trade measures than
China itself.
    Holidays in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan also thinned Asian
trade.    
    "It's a slow day. Despite the apparent improvement in global
risk appetite levels overnight, we (EM Asia FX markets) are
obviously not out of the woods yet with respect to global trade
war tensions," said Emmanuel Ng, FX strategist at
Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Ltd.
    India's rupee gained as much as 0.3 percent ahead
of a central bank policy decision later in the day (0900 GMT).
The central bank is expected to keep rates on hold but remain
cautious on inflation despite an easing in price pressures in
recent months.
    The South Korean won reversed early losses and
rose as much as 0.3 percent. 
    Ng explained that the bond inflows have been strong for
South Korea, lending support to the currency. 
    The Malaysian ringgit and the Thai baht both
edged up 0.1 percent, while the Singapore dollar
slipped slightly.
    Indonesia's rupiah and the Philippine peso
traded flat.
    
    SOUTH KOREA'S WON
    The won rose 0.2 percent on Thursday, reversing
course after posting losses in early trade. 
    South Korea's finance minister said on Thursday the trade
tussle between the United States and China was being closely
watched and that the country had prepared measures for various
scenarios. 
    South Korea, along with China, avoided the
currency-manipulator label in twice-yearly U.S. Treasury report,
but was kept on a currency "monitoring list". 
    
    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0427 GMT.
    CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR
 Change on the day at   0427 GMT                  
 Currency               Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen              106.960     106.77        -0.18
 Sing dlr               1.313       1.3119        -0.09
 Korean won             1057.800    1059.8        +0.19
 Baht                   31.204      31.24         +0.12
 Peso                   52.109      52.12         +0.02
 Rupiah                 13764.000   13763         -0.01
 Rupee                  65.013      65.15         +0.20
 Ringgit                3.865       3.868         +0.08
                                                  
 Change so far in 2018                            
 Currency               Latest bid  End 2017      Pct Move
 Japan yen              106.960     112.67        +5.34
 Sing dlr               1.313       1.3373        +1.84
 Korean won             1057.800    1070.50       +1.20
 Baht                   31.204      32.58         +4.41
 Peso                   52.109      49.93         -4.18
 Rupiah                 13764.000   13565         -1.45
 Rupee                  65.013      63.87         -1.76
 Ringgit                3.865       4.0440        +4.63
 
 (Reporting By Christina Martin in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim
Coghill)
  
 
 
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