September 27, 2019 / 7:39 AM / 22 days ago

EM ASIA FX-Most Asian units little changed; Philippine peso top gainer

    * Philippine cenbank cut interest rates as expected
    * S.Korean September exports likely to contract
    * Malaysian bonds retained on FTSE Russell watchlist

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Shreya Mariam Job
    Sept 27 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies were little
changed on Friday as investors weighed the political situation
in the United States and waited for developments on the
U.S.-China trade war front.
    A whistle-blower report released on Thursday said U.S.
President Donald Trump not only attempted to solicit Ukraine's
interference in the 2020 U.S. election for his political
benefit, but that the White House tried to "lock down" evidence
about that conduct.
    Investors are also looking for hints of progress in
Sino-U.S. trade relations ahead of talks next month to see if
the two economies could clinch a deal to end the protracted
trade war.
    China's top diplomat said China was willing to buy more U.S.
products, and said trade talks would yield results if both sides
"take more enthusiastic measures" to show goodwill and reduce
"pessimistic language" in their tariff dispute.
    Sim Moh Siong, a FX strategist at Bank of Singapore, said he
sees a holding pattern for emerging Asian currencies, amid
competing factors of trade developments and U.S. political
    "Investors are not sure what the dominant issue next week
will be," he added.
    The Philippine peso leapt 0.5%, making it the top
gainer in the region. The central bank cut interest rates for a
third time as expected on Thursday, and indicated that future
cuts would be data-dependent.    
    The South Korean won edged lower. South Korean
exports are seen contracting for the 10th consecutive month in
September, although at a slower pace, according to a Reuters
poll. The data is expected on Tuesday. 
    The prolonged Sino-U.S. trade war and uncertainty about a
recovery in the semiconductor industry continue to weigh on the
South Korean economy. 
    The Indonesian rupiah was steady. Officials on
Thursday said the government might allow its 2019 fiscal deficit
to widen further than 1.93% of gross domestic product to
maintain growth momentum.
    The Malaysian ringgit strengthened 0.2% after index
provider FTSE Russell retained Malaysian government bonds on its
World Government Bond Index.
    The FTSE gave the country six months to try and improve
liquidity to avoid eviction from the index, and said it will
provide another update after an interim review in March.  
    However, analysts said with Malaysia's status under review,
its exclusion from the index has been priced in, limiting the
impact on the currency.
    "Any negative impact on the MYR from index exclusion could
be limited to around 1%-2% losses. A positive affirmation of
Malaysia's market accessibility by FTSE will trigger MYR
strength," DBS said in a note. 
    The ringgit has declined 0.4% so far this week. 

 Change on the day at   0646 GMT                  
 Currency               Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen              107.790     107.82        +0.03
 Sing dlr               1.381       1.3819        +0.07
 Taiwan dlr             31.029      31.040        +0.04
 Korean won             1199.900    1198.8        -0.09
 Baht                   30.625      30.63         +0.02
 Peso                   51.870      52.13         +0.50
 Rupiah                 14175.000   14175         +0.00
 Rupee                  70.830      70.88         +0.07
 Ringgit                4.185       4.193         +0.19
 Yuan                   7.130       7.1310        +0.01
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Currency               Latest bid  End 2018      Pct Move
 Japan yen              107.790     109.56        +1.64
 Sing dlr               1.381       1.3627        -1.33
 Taiwan dlr             31.029      30.733        -0.95
 Korean won             1199.900    1115.70       -7.02
 Baht                   30.625      32.55         +6.29
 Peso                   51.870      52.47         +1.16
 Rupiah                 14175.000   14375         +1.41
 Rupee                  70.830      69.77         -1.50
 Ringgit                4.185       4.1300        -1.31
 Yuan                   7.130       6.8730        -3.60
 (Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by
Subhranshu Sahu)
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