December 27, 2019 / 5:59 AM / 23 days ago

EM ASIA FX-Most firm on optimism around 'Phase 1' trade deal

    * Taiwan dollar firms for fourth straight session
    * S.Korean won set for third consecutive weekly gain
    * Thai baht strengthens over 7% so far this year 

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Shreya Mariam Job
    Dec 27 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies strengthened on
Friday but moved in a tight range, as hopes of the United States
and China signing an interim trade deal early next year boosted
investor sentiment in holiday thinned trade. 
    China said on Thursday that Beijing and Washington were in
close contact on the signing of the "Phase 1" trade deal, which
came after U.S. President Donald Trump's indication of a
ceremony for the signing.    
    Firming the most in the region, the Taiwan dollar
strengthened for a fourth straight session propped up by
portfolio inflows.
    The sentiment was driven partly by growth prospects of the
economy and potential demand for 5G equipments, said Gao Qi,
forex strategist (EM Asia) at Scotiabank.
    Last month, Taiwan had raised its growth outlook and said
that recovering demand for electronics due to new technologies,
including fifth-generation telecommunications (5G), would boost
Taiwan's exports in 2020.
    Meanwhile, the Philippine peso lost most of its gains
in the previous session, weakening 0.2%.
    Trade reliant South Korea's currency firmed about
0.2% but was set to post its third consecutive weekly gain.
    The South Korean won is the worst performing currency so far
this year among its Asian peers, wounded by a drawn out
Sino-U.S. trade war. 
    The Thai baht, on the other hand, has strengthened
nearly 7.4% during the same period and firmed about 0.1% on the
    While the trade reliant South Korean economy fumbled amid
the volatile trade tensions between the world's two biggest
economies, the Thai baht benefited from safe-haven flows into  
the attractive low but stable yielding Thai assets. 
    The fallout from the trade war has however weighed on the
growth of both of these Asian economies.
 Change on the day at   0520 GMT                  
 Currency               Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen              109.470     109.63        +0.15
 Sing dlr               1.354       1.3539        +0.01
 Taiwan dlr             30.103      30.201        +0.33
 Korean won             1160.300    1161.8        +0.13
 Baht                   30.140      30.16         +0.07
 Peso                   50.790      50.7          -0.18
 Rupiah                 13942.000   13950         +0.06
 Rupee                  71.265      71.31         +0.06
 Ringgit                4.129       4.131         +0.05
 Yuan                   6.999       6.9980        -0.01
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Currency               Latest bid  End 2018      Pct Move
 Japan yen              109.470     109.56        +0.08
 Sing dlr               1.354       1.3627        +0.66
 Taiwan dlr             30.103      30.733        +2.09
 Korean won             1160.300    1115.70       -3.84
 Baht                   30.140      32.55         +8.00
 Peso                   50.790      52.47         +3.31
 Rupiah                 13942.000   14375         +3.11
 Rupee                  71.265      69.77         -2.10
 Ringgit                4.129       4.1300        +0.02
 Yuan                   6.999       6.8730        -1.80
 (Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi
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