April 11, 2018 / 5:55 AM / a year ago

EM ASIA FX-Most Asian currencies higher as Xi's trade pledges support sentiment

    * Philippine peso biggest boost to EM Asia FX
    * Chinese yuan inches lower
    * U.S. CPI data, Fed minutes in focus 

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Christina Martin
    April 11 (Reuters) - Most emerging Asian currencies crept
higher against the dollar on Wednesday, as Chinese President Xi
Jinping's promise to cut import tariffs eased concerns about a
U.S.-China trade conflict, sending investors back into growth
    Xi promised on Tuesday to open the country's economy further
and lower import tariffs on products like cars. The dollar's
index versus a basket of six major peers last stood at
89.588, its lowest level since March 28.
    Global equities rallied and oil prices surged on Xi's
comments as fears about the risk of a trade war between the
world's two largest economies receded.
    The improvement in risk sentiment gave a boost to
commodities-linked currencies and emerging market currencies and
weighed on the U.S. dollar as well as the Japanese yen.
    "Yesterday, Xi's speech and (U.S. President) Trump's reply
were perceived as conciliatory. The Xi-Trump bromance managed to
ease trade tensions a little, so the moves have taken place
overnight," said Christopher Wong, a Singapore-based FX
strategist with Maybank. 
    "For the dollar, we still see downside pressure overall, but
the downside may be cushioned leading into the consumer price
index data later today and the FOMC minutes. Any hint of faster
than gradual pace of Fed tightening and higher CPI print could
lend some temporary support to the dollar in the interim." 
    The dollar could take its cues from U.S. consumer inflation
data for March, as well as the minutes of the Federal Reserve's
March meeting. 
    The Philippine peso rose as much as 0.2 percent to
its highest in nearly six weeks, making it the biggest advancer
in the region.
    The Thai baht and the Singapore dollar
edged up as much as 0.1 percent, while the Taiwan dollar
 and Indonesia's rupiah remained little changed. 
    Meanwhile, the Indian rupee dragged the most in the
region, down as much as 0.3 percent to a one-week low.
    The Chinese yuan lost as much as 0.1 percent, while the
Malaysian ringgit and the Korean won skidded
    China's factory-gate inflation cooled to a 17-month low in
March and consumer inflation also eased sharply in the previous
month as the effects of booming demand spurred by the Lunar New
Year holiday in February receded, official data showed on

    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0525 GMT.
 Change on the day at 0525 GMT                    
 Currency               Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen              107.070     107.19        +0.11
 Sing dlr               1.308       1.3090        +0.05
 Taiwan dlr             29.186      29.190        +0.01
 Korean won             1067.300    1066.4        -0.08
 Baht                   31.184      31.21         +0.08
 Peso                   51.903      52            +0.19
 Rupiah                 13746.000   13748         +0.01
 Rupee                  65.080      64.99         -0.15
 Ringgit                3.868       3.867         -0.03
 Yuan                   6.287       6.2810        -0.09
 Change so far in 2018                            
 Currency               Latest bid  End 2017      Pct Move
 Japan yen              107.070     112.67        +5.23
 Sing dlr               1.308       1.3373        +2.21
 Taiwan dlr             29.186      29.848        +2.27
 Korean won             1067.300    1070.50       +0.30
 Baht                   31.184      32.58         +4.48
 Peso                   51.903      49.93         -3.80
 Rupiah                 13746.000   13565         -1.32
 Rupee                  65.080      63.87         -1.86
 Ringgit                3.868       4.0440        +4.55
 Yuan                   6.287       6.5069        +3.50
 (Reporting By Christina Martin in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam
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