April 27, 2020 / 5:36 AM / a month ago

EM ASIA FX-Most curencies firm on stimulus hopes; S.Korean won strengthens most

    * Bank of Japan expands stimulus measures
    * U.S. Fed, ECB to meet later in the week
    * Indonesian rupiah, Thai baht weaken

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Shreya Mariam Job
    April 27 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies firmed on Monday
as the Bank of Japan announced more stimulus steps to cushion
the economic impact of the coronavirus, while hopes for further
help from other major central banks also underpinned sentiment.
    Japan's central bank expanded monetary stimulus on Monday
for a second straight month to ease corporate funding strains
and finance huge government spending aimed at combating the
economic fallout from the pandemic.
    Market players now await the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting
ending Wednesday and a European Central Bank meeting on Thursday
to see how major central banks plan to cope with the threat of a
deep global recession stemming from the health crisis.
    Hopes of further stimulus helped push up equities as well,
with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
 up 1.2% in early trade.
    "All these correlated moves on risk assets primarily hinges
on a quick recovery from recession once the lockdown ends around
the world," Mahesh Sethuraman, deputy head of global sales
trading at Saxo Capital Markets said. 
    "The moment the markets realize that opening up the economy
could bring in another spike in infection rate, these moves can
be reversed pretty quickly and sharply," he added. 
    A Reuters poll shows the global economy will suffer its
steepest contraction on record this year, with a longer,
U-shaped recovery more likely.
    However, stimulus hopes spurred risk appetite on Monday,
providing a lift to the Indian rupee which gained 0.4%,
while the South Korean won firmed nearly 0.5%,
clawing back losses from the previous session. 
    The Indonesian rupiah and the Thai baht were
the only two Asian units that weakened. 
    The rupiah shed as much as 0.5% against the dollar and was
set to be the worst performer in the region for the day as new
coronavirus cases continued to grow over the weekend.
    Indonesia reported 275 new coronavirus cases on Sunday,
bringing the total to 8,882 with the death count at 743.

    "I do believe the currency remains vulnerable for another
bout of selling when equities find it harder to sustain their
recent pull-back moves," Sethuraman said.
  Change on the day at                                       
         0457 GMT                                    
  Currency                 Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
  Japan yen                107.260            107.5     +0.22
  Sing dlr                 1.420             1.4243     +0.30
  Taiwan dlr               30.025            30.080     +0.18
  Korean won               1229.900          1235.5     +0.46
  Baht                     32.450             32.43     -0.06
  Peso                     50.690             50.75     +0.12
  Rupiah                   15410.000          15350     -0.39
  Rupee                    76.130             76.45     +0.42
  Ringgit                  4.350              4.357     +0.16
  Yuan                     7.078             7.0823     +0.07
  Change so far in 2020                                      
  Currency                 Latest bid  End 2019      Pct Move
  Japan yen                107.260           108.61     +1.26
  Sing dlr                 1.420             1.3444     -5.33
  Taiwan dlr               30.025            30.106     +0.27
  Korean won               1229.900         1156.40     -5.98
  Baht                     32.450             29.91     -7.83
  Peso                     50.690             50.65     -0.08
  Rupiah                   15410.000          13880     -9.93
  Rupee                    76.130             71.38     -6.24
  Ringgit                  4.350             4.0890     -6.00
  Yuan                     7.078             6.9632     -1.61
 (Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani
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