May 12, 2020 / 6:44 AM / 25 days ago

EM ASIA FX-Most Asian units weaken as fears of second coronavirus wave deepen

    * Bank Indonesia to cut interest rates twice this year - ANZ
analysts
    * Malaysian ringgit hits two-week low
    * BNP Paribas analyst say travel bans to hurt Thai economy  

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Anushka Trivedi
    May 12 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies slipped against a
firmer dollar on Tuesday, with the Indonesian rupiah dropping
the most, as fears about a second wave of coronavirus infections
sapped investor confidence.
    The Chinese city where the virus originated reported five
new cases on Monday after a stringent lockdown was lifted a
month ago, while easing restrictions in South Korea and Germany
were met by jumps in new infections.
    China and South Korea's early success in curbing the virus'
spread had brought a semblance of stability to Asian markets
over the past few weeks, however, that is now threatened as "the
strong recovery for these regions will similarly be at risk if a
second wave does strike," IG market strategist Jingyi Pan said.
    The rupiah dropped 0.6% as analysts at ANZ Research
lowered full-year growth forecasts for Indonesia after economic
growth there slowed to its weakest pace since 2001 in the first
quarter.
    Worries over a looming coronavirus-induced recession have
weighed on the rupiah this year, making it the worst performing
currency in Asia. 
    ANZ predicted that Bank Indonesia will deliver two more
interest rate cuts this year, in May and June, to support the
economy. 
    Other regional currencies were pressured by a stronger
dollar, which was supported by safe-haven demand. 
    The South Korean won weakened 0.5%, marking its
worst day in over a week, while the Malaysian ringgit
dipped 0.1% to a two-week low.
    Malaysia reported its sharpest decline in monthly industrial
production index in nearly a decade in the month of March,
government data showed, as virus-related curbs severely
disrupted activity.
    The Thai baht was among the few gainers for the day
as it advanced 0.2%.
    A Thai capital market association said late on Monday
investor confidence for three-months to July rose for the first
time this year on optimism about government measures to cushion
the fallout of the pandemic.
    However, BNP Paribas analysts in a note warned that
Thailand's economic growth will suffer deeply this year due to
global travel bans, as it owes much of its current account
surplus to tourism.
    The yuan firmed 0.1% against the dollar. 
    "With China ... expectations for further policy support with
the upcoming National People's Congress (NPC) meeting may help
to shore up prices in the near-term," Pan said.  
    The NPC is will hold a key annual session on May
22.      
    
    
    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0530 GMT.
    
  CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR      
  Currency                  Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
  Japan yen                107.410            107.66     +0.23
  Sing dlr                 1.418              1.4168     -0.06
  Taiwan dlr               29.900             29.861     -0.13
  Korean won               1226.100           1220.5     -0.46
  Baht                     32.120              32.19     +0.22
  Peso                     50.275              50.35     +0.15
  Rupiah                   14940.000           14850     -0.60
  Rupee                    75.853              75.74     -0.15
  Ringgit                  4.334               4.331     -0.07
  Yuan                     7.093              7.0988     +0.09
                                                              
  Change so far in 2020                                       
  Currency                 Latest bid   End 2019      Pct Move
  Japan yen                107.410            108.61     +1.12
  Sing dlr                 1.418              1.3444     -5.16
  Taiwan dlr               29.900             30.106     +0.69
  Korean won               1226.100          1156.40     -5.68
  Baht                     32.120              29.91     -6.88
  Peso                     50.275              50.65     +0.75
  Rupiah                   14940.000           13880     -7.10
  Rupee                    75.853              71.38     -5.90
  Ringgit                  4.334              4.0890     -5.65
  Yuan                     7.093              6.9632     -1.83
 

 (Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya
Soni)
  
 
 
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