September 15, 2017 / 5:26 AM / 6 months ago

EM ASIA FX-Most Asian currencies strengthen as dollar slides on N.Korea missile launch

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Christina Martin
    Sept 15 (Reuters) - Most emerging Asian currencies
strengthened on Friday as the dollar lost ground against a
basket of major currencies after North Korea fired another
missile over Japan into the Pacific Ocean.
    The latest missile launch further stewed tensions after
Pyongyang's recent test of its most powerful nuclear bomb.    
    The dollar fell against the safe-haven yen and Swiss franc
in early Asian hours in response to the launch, though it
recovered later in jittery trade.
    "Overall risk sentiment is strong and in a muted U.S. rates
environment, flow will move to higher risk places like emerging
Asia," said Sean Yokota, head of Asia strategy at Skandinaviska
Enskilda Banken.
    "Also, China fixing today was muted, meaning PBOC (People's
Bank of China) doesn't have much intention to weaken it too
    China's yuan rose as much as 0.2 percent, on
track to snap five consecutive sessions of declines, while the
ringgit was up as much as 0.4 percent. 
    China's central bank lifted its official yuan midpoint
 slightly to 6.5423 per dollar, only 0.06 percent
stronger than Thursday's fix of 6.5465.
    The Malaysian ringgit gained 0.3 percent, heading for
its fifth straight weekly gain.
    The Philippine peso, however, edged lower for a
fourth straight session, down as much as 0.3 percent to its
lowest in over three weeks.
    "Philippines is overheating and unless the central bank
starts changing its tone and signal tightening, peso will
continue to weaken," Yokota said.
    The rupiah gained slightly on Friday, after data
showed August surplus was $1.72 billion, outpacing the $520
million a Reuters poll had expected.
    August exports on a yearly basis rose 19.24 percent, while 
imports were up 8.89 percent.
    The won pulled back slightly on Friday after
North Korea launched a missile over northern Japan, not long
after Pyongyang's latest and most powerful nuclear test. 
    The won was at 1,132.7 to the dollar as of 0433 GMT,
marginally down from Thursday's close of 1,132.6.
    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0501 GMT.
  Currency               Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
  Japan yen              110.35            110.22     -0.12
  Sing dlr               1.3464            1.3466     +0.01
  Taiwan dlr             30.093            30.106     +0.04
  Korean won             1132              1132.6     +0.04
  Baht                   33.065              33.1     +0.11
  Peso                   51.230            51.165     -0.13
  Rupiah                 13240              13249     +0.07
  Rupee                  64.09              64.12     +0.04
  Ringgit                4.190              4.204     +0.33
  Yuan                   6.550             6.5540     +0.07
  Change so far in 2017                                    
  Currency               Latest bid   End 2016     Pct Move
  Japan yen              110.35            117.07     +6.09
  Sing dlr               1.3464            1.4490     +7.62
  Taiwan dlr             30.093            32.279     +7.26
  Korean won             1132             1207.70     +6.67
  Baht                   33.065             35.80     +8.27
  Peso                   51.230             49.72     -2.95
  Rupiah                 13240              13470     +1.74
  Rupee                  64.090             67.92     +5.98
  Ringgit                4.190             4.4845     +7.03
  Yuan                   6.550             6.9467     +6.06
 (Reporting By Christina Martin in Bengaluru; Editing by
Gopakumar Warrier)
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