January 8, 2018 / 6:05 AM / 2 months ago

EM ASIA FX-Most Asian currencies in tight range; Taiwan dollar firms to over 4-year high

 (Updates prices, adds background)
    By Aditya Soni
    Jan 8 (Reuters) - Most emerging Asian currencies traded
within a tight range on Monday, as positive sentiment towards
them from a rise in global risk appetite was somewhat offset by
a recovery in the U.S. dollar. 
    Asian shares crept toward all-time peaks on Monday, with
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
 adding 0.1 percent.
    Throughout the first week of 2018, world shares rose and
several benchmarks broke records. With the world's largest
economies all growing healthily at once and central banks moving
slowly to tighten policy, investors have poured money into risk
    However, the rise in emerging currencies was halted by a
steady dollar, after data showing slower U.S. jobs growth
did little to dent expectations for further Federal Reserve
interest rate increases this year.
    While the Asian currencies have been mixed this morning, the
Taiwan dollar, Malaysian ringgit and Thai Baht have advanced
amid enhanced risk appetite, said Qi Gao, FX Strategist at
    The Taiwan dollar firmed as much as 0.3 percent to
its highest since November 2013. Taiwan's trade data is due
later in the day, with the island's exports expected to have
maintained solid growth for a 15th consecutive month in
December, according to a Reuters poll.
    Taiwan is one of Asia's major exporters, especially of
technology goods, and its export trend is a key gauge of global
demand for technology gadgets worldwide.
    The Thai Baht was among the top percentage gainers
among the regional currencies as it rose to its highest since
September 2014. 
    The Singapore Dollar weakened 0.3 percent, on track
to snap two straight sessions of gains.  
    The Malaysian ringgit added to its strong start of
the year as it climbed to a near 17-month high.
     Demand for Malaysian palm oil from key overseas buyers
could rise in the coming weeks following its decision to suspend
export taxes on crude palm oil for three months from Monday.

    The government announced the tax suspension on Friday and
traders said the move will make Malaysian palm oil more
competitive, especially in price sensitive markets such as India
and China.
    Energy exports contribute significantly to Malaysia's gross
domestic product. Boosted by stronger oil prices the ringgit had
recently breached the psychologically important 4.0 level for
the first time since August 2016.
    The Korean won weakened the most among the
regional currencies as it fell 0.4 percent. 
    South Korea's government was suspected of buying U.S.
dollars around the 1,050 won mark on Monday, two foreign
exchange traders told Reuters.
    The won touched as high as 1,058.8 against the greenback in
early trade on Monday, its highest intraday level since October
2014 before falling sharply to 1,069.9.
    Asian currencies are set to pare gains this year that they
made in 2017 as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates
further and Asian central banks proceed cautiously, cushioned by
solid growth expectations, a Reuters poll showed.
    After gaining over 6 percent last year, China's yuan
 is forecast to depreciate slightly to 6.60 per dollar
in six months and to 6.60 by end-2018, from Thursday's close of
6.49, the poll showed.
    India's rupee is also forecast to depreciate
marginally against the dollar, to 64.50 per dollar in six months
and 65.00 in a year, compared with Thursday's close of 63.39.
    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar on Monday.
 CURRENCIES VS U.S.                                     
 Change on the day at  0513 GMT                         
 Currency                     Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen                    113.210     113.06        -0.13
 Sing dlr                     1.330       1.3261        -0.29
 Taiwan dlr                   29.500      29.523        +0.08
 Korean won                   1066.700    1062.7        -0.37
 Baht                         32.180      32.22         +0.12
 Peso                         49.905      49.865        -0.08
 Rupiah                       13410.000   13413         +0.02
 Rupee                        63.325      63.37         +0.06
 Ringgit                      3.985       3.995         +0.25
 Yuan                         6.489       6.4887        -0.00
 Change so far                                          
 Currency                     Latest bid  End 2017      Pct Move
 Japan yen                    113.210     112.67        -0.48
 Sing dlr                     1.330       1.3373        +0.55
 Taiwan dlr                   29.500      29.848        +1.18
 Korean won                   1066.700    1070.50       +0.36
 Baht                         32.180      32.58         +1.24
 Peso                         49.905      49.93         +0.05
 Rupiah                       13410.000   13565         +1.16
 Rupee                        63.325      63.87         +0.86
 Ringgit                      3.985       4.0440        +1.48
 Yuan                         6.489       6.5069        +0.28

 (Reporting by Aditya Soni in Bengaluru; Editing by Muralikumar
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