September 30, 2019 / 6:35 AM / 14 days ago

EM ASIA FX-Philippine peso gains most; other Asian currencies subdued

    * Oil prices weigh on net oil importers
    * Investors cheer Philippine growth measures
    * Washington may move to curb Chinese investment 

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Shreya Mariam Job
    Sept 30 (Reuters) - The Philippine peso strengthened the
most among its Asian peers on Monday, while most other units
traded in a thin range as investors held positions amid reports
that Washington may restrict U.S. investments in Chinese firms.
    The Philippine peso strengthened 0.2% as investors
cheered central bank measures on Friday to boost its slowing
    Elsewhere, reports that Washington is considering delisting
Chinese companies from U.S. stock exchanges dampened sentiment.

    The news stoked fears of an escalation of U.S.-China trade
tensions ahead of talks expected to be held late next week after
months of tit-for-tat moves by both sides.
    "Reports that the White House may be planning steps to
restrict U.S. investments in Chinese firms have once again
caught markets off guard, igniting caution," Vishnu Varathan,
senior economist at Mizuho Bank said in a note.  
    Firming oil prices also weighed on the currencies of net oil
importers, with the Indian rupee and the Indonesian
rupiah weakening 0.2% and 0.1%, respectively.
    Factory activity surveys in China pointed to slight
improvement in September as domestic demand picked up, although
export demand remained weak.
    The yuan was steady ahead of a week-long holiday.
Chinese financial markets will be closed for the National Day
holiday from Tuesday.
    The South Korean won firmed marginally with gains
capped by weak August factory data. The country's industrial
output dropped 2.9% from the previous year, compared with a 0.2%
decline predicted by a Reuters poll, while its service sector
output rose 1.2% from the previous month. 
    Financial markets in Taiwan were closed for a holiday.  
    The peso firmed for a fourth consecutive session as policies
to boost the economy helped investor sentiment. 
    The country's central bank announced a 100 basis points cut
in banks' reserve requirement ratio on Friday which will take
effect in November. 
    "The move was carefully telegraphed by the Governor and was
warranted given the central bank's latest inflation forecast
showing price gains to average 2.5% for 2019," an ING note said.
    The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas cut its benchmark interest
rate for a third time this year last week and lowered its
inflation forecast for 2019 to 2.5% from 2.6%.
    While the move would increase domestic liquidity, economic 
growth hopes supported the currency. The peso has firmed 0.7%
this month. 

 Change on the day at   0554 GMT                  
 Currency               Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen              107.750     107.92        +0.16
 Sing dlr               1.381       1.3811        -0.02
 Korean won             1198.300    1199.9        +0.13
 Baht                   30.580      30.6          +0.07
 Peso                   51.770      51.88         +0.21
 Rupiah                 14175.000   14160         -0.11
 Rupee                  70.650      70.56         -0.13
 Ringgit                4.185       4.186         +0.02
 Yuan                   7.125       7.1225        -0.03
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Currency               Latest bid  End 2018      Pct Move
 Japan yen              107.750     109.56        +1.68
 Sing dlr               1.381       1.3627        -1.35
 Taiwan dlr             31.042      30.733        -1.00
 Korean won             1198.300    1115.70       -6.89
 Baht                   30.580      32.55         +6.44
 Peso                   51.770      52.47         +1.35
 Rupiah                 14175.000   14375         +1.41
 Rupee                  70.650      69.77         -1.25
 Ringgit                4.185       4.1300        -1.31
 Yuan                   7.125       6.8730        -3.53

 (Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; editing by
Richard Pullin)
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