August 6, 2018 / 6:24 AM / 8 months ago

EM ASIA FX-Most Asian currencies rise in wake of China move

 (Adds detail, updates prices)
    By Devika Syamnath
    Aug 6 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies strengthened on
Monday after China's central bank took steps late last week to
rein in sharp declines in the yuan, but the latest round of
sabre-rattling in the Sino-U.S. trade war dented sentiment
across markets.
    The People's Bank of China (PBOC) on Friday said it would
require banks to keep reserves equivalent to 20 percent of their
clients' dollar forward positions, essentially making it more
costly to short the yuan and helping it rebound from a near
15-month low against the greenback.
    "The move signals that policymakers' appetite for a weaker
RMB from here is limited, although PBOC keenly stressed that the
reserve requirement is a non-discriminatory, price-based
prudential tool, not a capital control," Mizuho Bank said in a
    A stronger yuan typically bolsters emerging currencies in
Asia, with the Taiwan dollar and Philippine peso
strengthening 0.3 and 0.1 percent respectively on Monday. 
    Indonesia's rupiah edged up 0.1 percent amid data
showing Indonesia's economy beat forecasts to grow at its
fastest clip in 4-1/2 years in April-June.
    Elsewhere, the dollar index, a measure of the
greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was 0.2
percent higher after U.S. jobs data reinforced investor
expectations the Federal Reserve would gradually raise interest
rates this year.     
    China's yuan
    The yuan seesawed in a narrow range on Monday, as the trade
tensions between Beijing and Washington overshadowed the central
bank's attempts to shore up the yuan. 
    Chinese state media on Monday lashed out at U.S. President
Donald Trump's trade policies in an unusually personal attack.

    That came after China's finance ministry on Friday unveiled
new sets of additional tariffs on over 5,000 goods imported from
the United States worth $60 billion. The move was in response to
the Trump administration's proposal of a 25-percent tariff on
$200 billion worth of Chinese imports.
     "Although China's absolute retaliation (on trade) is much
smaller, from a percentage perspective, China's (tariff) lists
have covered about 80 percent of Chinese imports from the U.S.,
much higher than the about 50 percent ratio proposed by the
U.S.," OCBC said in a note to clients.
    "This is a surprise in our view as it shows that China does
not fear further escalation of the trade war. Nevertheless, this
could be bad for market sentiment," the Singaporean bank said.
    China's central bank set the yuan's daily midpoint
 at 6.8513 per dollar, its weakest level since May 31,
2017, but largely matching forecasts.    
    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0518 GMT.
 Currency                     Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen                    111.310     111.25        -0.05
 Sing dlr                     1.367       1.3663        -0.02
 Taiwan dlr                   30.607      30.706        +0.32
 Korean won                   1123.200    1127.6        +0.39
 Baht                         33.240      33.25         +0.03
 Peso                         53.023      53.055        +0.06
 Rupiah                       14470.000   14490         +0.14
 Rupee                        68.623      68.61         -0.03
 Ringgit                      4.075       4.08          +0.12
 Yuan                         6.830       6.8288        -0.02
 Change so far in 2018                                  
 Currency                     Latest bid  End 2017      Pct Move
 Japan yen                    111.310     112.67        +1.22
 Sing dlr                     1.367       1.3373        -2.14
 Taiwan dlr                   30.607      29.848        -2.48
 Korean won                   1123.200    1070.50       -4.69
 Baht                         33.240      32.58         -1.99
 Peso                         53.023      49.977        -5.74
 Rupiah                       14470.000   13565         -6.25
 Rupee                        68.623      63.87         -6.93
 Ringgit                      4.075       4.0440        -0.76
 Yuan                         6.830       6.5069        -4.73

 (Reporting by Devika Syamnath in Bengaluru
Editing by Joseph Radford)
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