March 5, 2019 / 6:01 AM / 4 months ago

EM ASIA FX-Most Asian units weaken as China targets slower growth, peso slides

    * Lower inflation in Philippines gives rise to easing talk
    * Indian rupee gains as tensions with neighbour ease 
    * Malaysian ringgit slips ahead of interest rate decision

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    March 5 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies weakened on
Tuesday, when China trimmed  its economic growth targets for the
year.
    The Philippine peso weakened sharply after the
announcement of lower inflation in February spurred talk of
policy easing.
    The peso shed 0.7 percent to 52.120 against the U.S. dollar,
after the annual inflation rate eased to a one-year low of 3.8
percent last month - inside the central bank's 2 to 4 percent
target.
    "With inflation lower, you can probably see that there is
increasing expectations of a possible cut in RRR (reserve
requirement ratio) as early as the next monetary board meeting" 
on March 21 said Jonathan Ravelas, chief market strategist at
BDO Unibank.
   China, facing growing challenges from debt and the trade
dispute with the United States, cut its economic growth target
for this year to 6.0-6.5 percent, compared with last year's goal
of about 6.5 percent.
    Indonesia's rupiah slipped 0.1 percent to 14,145 per
dollar, while Thailand's baht fell by the same
percentage, to 31.870. 
    Thailand's central bank on Monday said the baht is likely to
remain volatile and that it had taken action on excessive moves
in the currency to help the private sector adjust.
    Following a public holiday on Monday, and as tensions
between India and Pakistan eased, the Indian rupee
strengthened 0.2 percent to 70.80. 
    Ten-year bond yields fell further on Tuesday,
after touching a 2019 peak of 7.699 percent mid-last week
following skirmishes between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
    The Malaysian ringgit eased slightly to 4.076 ahead
of a policy decision by the country's central bank, which is
expected leave the key rate unchanged. 
    China's yuan gained 0.1 percent. 
    In the work report to the National People's Congress, the
government reiterated that it would maintain the yuan currency
basically stable and keep it at "reasonable" level this year,
quelling concerns from the United States that the country
devalues its unit. 

CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR  
 Change on the day at 0501 GMT                    
 Currency               Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen              111.890     111.74        -0.13
 Sing dlr               1.355       1.3544        -0.02
 Taiwan dlr             30.831      30.830        -0.00
 Korean won             1125.600    1124.9        -0.06
 Baht                   31.870      31.835        -0.11
 Peso                   52.120      51.75         -0.71
 Rupiah                 14145.000   14125         -0.14
 Rupee                  70.800      70.91         +0.15
 Ringgit                4.076       4.074         -0.05
 Yuan                   6.702       6.7101        +0.12
                                                  
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Currency               Latest bid  End 2018      Pct Move
 Japan yen              111.890     109.56        -2.08
 Sing dlr               1.355       1.3627        +0.59
 Taiwan dlr             30.831      30.733        -0.32
 Korean won             1125.600    1115.70       -0.88
 Baht                   31.870      32.55         +2.13
 Peso                   52.120      52.47         +0.67
 Rupiah                 14145.000   14375         +1.63
 Rupee                  70.800      69.77         -1.45
 Ringgit                4.076       4.1300        +1.32
 Yuan                   6.702       6.8730        +2.55
 
 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by
Richard Borsuk)
  
 
 
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