October 24, 2019 / 6:23 AM / a month ago

EM ASIA FX-Most Asian currencies inch up as traders await c.bank decisions

    * South Korea Q3 GDP slips, exports show some signs of
    * Indonesia's c.bank likely to cut rates by 25 basis points 
    * Worst may be over for Asia export slowdown - BofA Merrill

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Nikhil Nainan
    Oct 24 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies edged up on
Thursday ahead of central bank policy meetings and in the
absence of new signals or developments in the Sino-U.S. trade
war and the Brexit saga.
    Indonesia's central bank is widely expected to cut its
benchmark rate for a fourth time since July as it seeks to spur
growth for an economy likely to slow in 2019.
    The rupiah was flat ahead of the decision. The
currency has benefited this week from Indonesia's new cabinet
that many hope would push through major reforms to boost
investment and growth. 
    OCBC, in a note, said Bank Indonesia may supplement the rate
cut with soft rhetoric, and, if so, would "serve as reminders
that the Asian macro outlook remains weighed down, even if it
may not be dislocating lower."
    The U.S.-China trade war and political uncertainty elsewhere
has dented global economic growth, and has seen central banks
adopt more policy-easing measures. 
    Trade-reliant economies in Asia have been especially
impacted. Economic growth in South Korea slowed more than
expected in the third quarter, though exports - the most
important driver - showed some signs of recovery.
    The won was among the best performing currencies
on Thursday, advancing 0.1%.
    The country's central bank has left the door open to further
policy easing. 
    "Looser fiscal and monetary policy should help the economy
to regain some momentum in the quarters ahead," Capital
Economics said in a note. 
    Taiwan's dollar also strengthened.
    For the overall region, "it seems likely that the worst of
the export slowdown is behind us, providing marginal support to
Asia FX if the data improves into next year," BofA Merrill Lynch
Global Research said in a note.
    The Indian rupee, the Singapore dollar and
Chinese yuan were flat. 
    The Malaysian ringgit gained 0.1%. The government
is working to resolve a spat with India that has resulted in
calls to boycott Malaysian palm oil, a key export product.

    On Wednesday, both Malaysia and Singapore said consumer
prices in September rose more slowly than expected. 
    The Philippines peso weakened 0.2% to 51.080 a
 Change on the day at 0541 GMT                    
 Currency               Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen              108.590     108.68        +0.08
 Sing dlr               1.362       1.3620        +0.00
 Taiwan dlr             30.565      30.611        +0.15
 Korean won             1171.600    1172.4        +0.07
 Baht                   30.280      30.29         +0.03
 Peso                   51.080      51            -0.16
 Rupiah                 14025.000   14025         +0.00
 Rupee                  70.913      70.91         -0.00
 Ringgit                4.183       4.186         +0.07
 Yuan                   7.067       7.0667        +0.00
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Currency               Latest bid  End 2018      Pct Move
 Japan yen              108.590     109.56        +0.89
 Sing dlr               1.362       1.3627        +0.05
 Taiwan dlr             30.565      30.733        +0.55
 Korean won             1171.600    1115.70       -4.77
 Baht                   30.280      32.55         +7.50
 Peso                   51.080      52.47         +2.72
 Rupiah                 14025.000   14375         +2.50
 Rupee                  70.913      69.77         -1.61
 Ringgit                4.183       4.1300        -1.27
 Yuan                   7.067       6.8730        -2.74
 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by
Richard Borsuk)
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