September 23, 2019 / 6:32 AM / 2 months ago

EM ASIA FX-Most currencies subdued as outlook on U.S.-China ties unclear

    * S. Korean won weakens the most 
    * Indian rupee little changed after Friday's jump
    * US-China outlook, Mideast tensions dent sentiment

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Shreya Mariam Job
    Sept 23 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies were little
changed on Monday as investors weighed the mixed signals from
concluded deputy-level trade negotiations between Beijing and
Washington, while the Korean won weakened on poor trade data.
    Officials of United States and China described trade talks 
between the two nations in Washington as "productive" and
    However, on Friday a delegation of Chinese agriculture
officials cancelled their trip to U.S. farm states to return to
China earlier than originally scheduled, leaving investors
uncertain on the direction of the negotiations.
    The uncertainty caused the yuan to weaken 0.3% to
its lowest level in nearly two weeks.
    Also impacting emerging currencies was the United States
ordering additional troops to be deployed in the Gulf region to
strengthen Saudi Arabia's air and missile defences, following
the Sept. 14 attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities.

    Vishnu Varathan, senior economist at Mizuho Bank, said in a
note on Monday the U.S. move suggests that this week will see
"defensive" trades in Asian currencies. 
    "EM Asia FX could be left on the back foot," he said.
    The South Korean won declined the most among
Asian currencies weakening 0.5% after data showed a slump in the
country's exports for the first 20 days of September. 
    The customs agency of the country said exports to China
plummeted 29.8% during Sept. 1-20, aggravating concerns of the
impact of the prolonged and bruising Sino-U.S. trade war.
    With South Korea often seen as a bell-weather of global
growth, concerns of a slowdown in global growth continued to
worry investors. 
    The Indian rupee traded in a tight range as
investors processed the government's decision on Friday to ease
corporate tax rates.
    India cut corporate tax rates in a surprise move designed to
woo manufacturers, revive private investment and lift growth
from a six-year low that has led to major job losses and fuelled
discontent in the countryside.
    A rally in the country's stock markets had helped the rupee
firm as much as 0.9% on Friday to its strongest level since Aug.
    However, the move is also expected to cut revenue by 1.45
trillion rupees ($20.4 billion) in the current fiscal year.
    Given the tax cuts shouldn't be inflationary, the Reserve
Bank of India "might proceed with a modest (rate) cut" in
October, DBS said in a note. 
    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0548 GMT.
 Change on the day at   0548 GMT                  
 Currency               Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen              107.700     107.55        -0.14
 Sing dlr               1.377       1.3769        +0.02
 Taiwan dlr             30.971      30.980        +0.03
 Korean won             1193.800    1188          -0.49
 Baht                   30.470      30.46         -0.03
 Peso                   52.040      52.03         -0.02
 Rupiah                 14075.000   14050         -0.18
 Rupee                  70.930      70.94         +0.01
 Ringgit                4.165       4.168         +0.07
 Yuan                   7.114       7.0915        -0.32
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Currency               Latest bid  End 2018      Pct Move
 Japan yen              107.700     109.56        +1.73
 Sing dlr               1.377       1.3627        -1.01
 Taiwan dlr             30.971      30.733        -0.77
 Korean won             1193.800    1115.70       -6.54
 Baht                   30.470      32.55         +6.83
 Peso                   52.040      52.47         +0.83
 Rupiah                 14075.000   14375         +2.13
 Rupee                  70.930      69.77         -1.64
 Ringgit                4.165       4.1300        -0.84
 Yuan                   7.114       6.8730        -3.39

 (Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by
Richard Borsuk)
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