December 23, 2019 / 6:23 AM / 2 months ago

EM ASIA FX-Most currencies weaken as solid U.S. growth bolsters dollar

    * Thai open to further easing - governor
    * S.Korea Dec 1-20 exports fall 
    * Singapore core inflation steady

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Shreya Mariam Job
    Dec 23 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies inched lower on
Monday, as upbeat U.S. economic data supported the greenback
while soft Asia trade figures knocked regional sentiment at the
start of a holiday week.
    U.S. data on Friday showed that the world's largest economy
had maintained a moderate pace of growth despite the volatility
brought about by tensions with China.
    The dollar index was at 97.668 by 0539 GMT, flat on
the day after rising about 0.3% on Friday.
    The Thai baht, which is the best performing currency
in the region so far this year, slipped over 0.2% on the day. 
    Thailand's November exports dropped 7.4%, worse than a 4.5%
fall forecast in a Reuters poll.
    The governor of the Bank of Thailand signalled on Monday
that there would likely be further monetary policy easing if the
economic situation turns out worse than expected.
    The baht has shown resilience even as trade tensions bruised
financial markets through the year. The strength of the currency
has become a cause of concern for policymakers.  
    "In the case of the THB, it had been seen as a non-China
exports hedge, given tighter linkages with Japanese
manufacturers relative to other exporters in the region," 
Vishnu Varathan, senior economist at Mizuho Bank, said in a note
last week. 
    Meanwhile, the South Korean won weakened after
data showed that the trade-reliant economy's exports had fallen
again in the first 20 days of December. However, hopes that a
year-long run of declines may be nearing an end capped the fall.
    Exports by Asia's fourth-largest economy during December
1-20 slid 2.0% in value from the same period a year earlier, the
smallest decline in a year. 
    The Singapore dollar also slipped marginally. The
city-state's core inflation rate, which is the Monetary
Authority of Singapore's preferred price gauge for setting
monetary policy, was unchanged in November.
    However, a Mizuho Bank note said: "Unless 'tail risks'
unleash adverse shocks – likely transmitted via financial
markets – the MAS will not resort to more aggressive easing
 Change on the day at   0548 GMT                  
 Currency               Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen              109.420     109.44        +0.02
 Sing dlr               1.356       1.3548        -0.11
 Taiwan dlr             30.184      30.210        +0.09
 Korean won             1161.800    1160.6        -0.10
 Baht                   30.220      30.15         -0.23
 Peso                   50.830      50.76         -0.14
 Rupiah                 13982.000   13970         -0.09
 Rupee                  71.150      71.12         -0.04
 Ringgit                4.142       4.138         -0.10
 Yuan                   7.012       7.0065        -0.07
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Currency               Latest bid  End 2018      Pct Move
 Japan yen              109.420     109.56        +0.13
 Sing dlr               1.356       1.3627        +0.47
 Taiwan dlr             30.184      30.733        +1.82
 Korean won             1161.800    1115.70       -3.97
 Baht                   30.220      32.55         +7.71
 Peso                   50.830      52.47         +3.23
 Rupiah                 13982.000   14375         +2.81
 Rupee                  71.150      69.77         -1.94
 Ringgit                4.142       4.1300        -0.29
 Yuan                   7.012       6.8730        -1.98

 (Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by
Jacqueline Wong)
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