September 6, 2017 / 5:18 AM / 10 months ago

EM ASIA FX-Most Asian currencies slip as N.Korean tensions persist

 (Adds details, updates numbers)
    By Ambar Warrick
    Sept 6 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies edged lower against
the dollar on Wednesday as escalating tensions on the Korean
peninsula prompted investors to shun riskier assets.
    A top North Korean diplomat on Tuesday warned that his
country is ready to send "more gift packages" to the United
States and confirmed that North Korea had successfully conducted
its sixth and largest nuclear bomb test on Sunday.
    Many investors responded by shifting some of their
portfolios into assets which are believed to be safer, leaving
the dollar around 0.2 percent lower against the yen, a
popular means to reduce exposure to risk.
    "North Korea is keeping a lot of Asian currencies on the
backfoot. This morning's moves are not overwhelming per se, just
cautious positioning...," said Vishnu Varathan, head of
economics and strategy at Mizuho Bank in Singapore.
    In Asia, the Korean won lost the most against the
dollar, weakening 0.4 percent to a more than two-week low.
    South Korean equities were also lower for a fifth
consecutive session.
    The Singapore dollar dipped, although economists
raised their forecasts for Singapore's economic growth in the
third quarter, with manufacturing activity likely to remain
solid, a central bank survey showed on Wednesday.
    On the other hand, the Malaysian ringitt rose to a
near 10-month high after data showed export surged more than
expected in July. 
    Malaysia's export growth in July rose 30.9 percent from a
year earlier on higher shipments of manufactured products and
mining goods, beating the 23.1 percent rise forecast by a
Reuters poll.
    "On one hand you've got oil prices being a lot firmer today.
Over and above that, Malaysian data surprised a little bit more
on the upside today," said Mizuho's Varathan.
    "The ringitt is having a bit of catch-up trade today, as it
has been a laggard against the dollar of late."

    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0450 GMT.    
 CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR                                      
    Change on the day at                                        
          0450 GMT                                      
  Currency                    Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
  Japan yen                   108.690            108.8     +0.10
  Sing dlr                    1.353             1.3524     -0.05
  Taiwan dlr                  30.085            30.070     -0.05
  Korean won                  1135.600          1131.1     -0.40
  Baht                        33.160            33.179     +0.06
  Peso                        51.160             51.14     -0.04
  Rupiah                      13336.000          13337     +0.01
  Rupee                       64.233             64.12     -0.17
  Ringgit                     4.244             4.2585     +0.34
  Yuan                        6.538             6.5350     -0.04
  Change so far in 2017                                         
  Currency                    Latest bid  End 2016      Pct Move
  Japan yen                   108.690           117.07     +7.71
  Sing dlr                    1.353             1.4490     +7.09
  Taiwan dlr                  30.085            32.279     +7.29
  Korean won                  1135.600         1207.70     +6.35
  Baht                        33.160             35.80     +7.96
  Peso                        51.160             49.72     -2.81
  Rupiah                      13336.000          13470     +1.00
  Rupee                       64.233             67.92     +5.74
  Ringgit                     4.244             4.4845     +5.67
  Yuan                        6.538             6.9467     +6.26

 (Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim
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