January 3, 2020 / 6:48 AM / 2 months ago

EM ASIA FX-Most Asian currencies slip as oil rises on Middle East tensions

    * Philippine peso, S. Korean won skid
    * Malaysia's Nov. exports drop
    * Investors rush to safe-havens gold, yen 

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Shriya Ramakrishnan
    Jan 3 (Reuters) - Most emerging Asian currencies weakened on
Friday, with major oil importers taking the biggest hit, as oil
prices surged after tensions escalated in the Middle East.
    Brent crude futures jumped nearly $3 to their highest since
September on concerns over supply disruption following a U.S.
air strike at Baghdad airport that killed key Iranian and Iraqi
military personnel.
    As a result, South Korean won weakened as the
Asian economy is one of the largest crude buyers in the world.
It fell 0.8% to hit a more than two-week low. 
    The Philippine peso skid 0.7% to mark its worst level
in nearly a month. 
    Both the won and peso were poised to record a weekly loss of
0.5%. 
    "Asian currencies had seen quite moderate gains in December.
So, that could be some trigger for profit-taking, especially
with renewed geopolitical uncertainty," Wei-Liang Chang, an FX
and Credit macro strategist at DBS Bank said. 
     The Japanese yen, seen as a safe harbour during
times of economic or global tensions due to Japan's status as
the world's creditor nation notched robust gains against the
dollar.
    The Indian rupee depreciated 0.4% to the dollar, while the
Indonesian rupiah also slipped 0.2%. India meets about
80% of its oil needs through imports, making it highly
vulnerable to fluctuations in prices.  
    Weaker export readings weighed on the Malaysian ringgit
, which dipped 0.3%. The country's exports dropped for a
fourth straight month in November on lower shipments of
manufactured goods and commodities.
    The pace of decline was, however, slower than the 6.7% fall
recorded in October.
    "Exports growth will probably recover, though any pick-up
may be mild for now," analysts at Mizuho Bank said in a note. 
    The Singapore dollar weakened 0.2%, while the Thai
baht was largely flat.
    The Chinese yuan eased slightly, while the Taiwan
dollar strengthened 0.1%. 

    CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR
 Change on the day at   0551 GMT                  
 Currency               Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen              108.130     108.57        +0.41
 Sing dlr               1.349       1.3470        -0.16
 Taiwan dlr             30.099      30.114        +0.05
 Korean won             1167.000    1158.1        -0.76
 Baht                   30.150      30.15         +0.00
 Peso                   51.070      50.73         -0.67
 Rupiah                 13915.000   13884         -0.22
 Rupee                  71.665      71.37         -0.41
 Ringgit                4.098       4.085         -0.32
 Yuan                   6.971       6.9643        -0.09
                                                  
 Change so far in 2020                            
 Currency               Latest bid  End 2019      Pct Move
 Japan yen              108.130     108.61        +0.44
 Sing dlr               1.349       1.3444        -0.36
 Taiwan dlr             30.099      30.106        +0.02
 Korean won             1167.000    1156.40       -0.91
 Baht                   30.150      29.91         -0.80
 Peso                   51.070      50.65         -0.82
 Rupiah                 13915.000   13880         -0.25
 Rupee                  71.665      71.38         -0.40
 Ringgit                4.098       4.0890        -0.22
 Yuan                   6.971       6.9632        -0.11
 

 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; editing by
Uttaresh.V)
  
 
 
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