October 13, 2017 / 6:04 AM / 8 months ago

EM ASIA FX-Robust China data lifts Asian currencies, S'pore dollar slips on soft outlook

    By Hanna Paul
    Oct 13 (Reuters) - Rosy Chinese data and the soft dollar
lifted emerging Asian currencies on Friday, except for the
Singapore dollar which  dipped on the central bank's cautious
outlook for the economy.
    China's yuan perked up to its highest in three
weeks and was headed for weekly gains, helped by weakness in the
dollar and encouraging trade data.
    Exports rose 8.1 percent, below forecasts of 8.8 percent but
handily beating August's 5.5 percent.
    Imports in dollar-denominated terms grew 18.7 percent in
September from a year earlier, beating analysts' forecasts for a
13.5 percent expansion and accelerating from 13.3 percent in
    The gain was stronger than the most optimistic forecast in a
Reuters poll of analysts. 
    The trade data also showed China's iron ore imports vaulted
to a record high in September as the world's top steel producer
imported ore to raise production ahead of the winter crackdown
on air pollution.
    "China trade data seems to be making the big risk appeal in
the region and it seems to be the overriding factor today," said
Stephen Innes, senior trader at FX broker OANDA. 
    Softness in the dollar also added cheer to the emerging
Asian currencies. The greenback was muted as investors
cautiously awaited inflation data which could shed more light on
whether the U.S. Federal Reserve will hike interest rates later
in the year.
    Among Asian currencies the Indian rupee appreciated
for a fifth consecutive day, rising to levels unseen since
September 25 after data showed that the country's retail
inflation remained steady in September.
    The report also showed that the chances of a rate cut remain
dim as the central bank expects higher inflation in the coming
    The Malaysian ringgit picked up marginally. The
world's second-largest palm oil producer said it planned to
accelerate its crude palm oil export tax to 6.5 percent in
    The Philippine peso is staying afloat after being
a hair's breadth away from an 11-year dip at one point.
    "I think we need to take a more balanced view on the peso.
Investor optimism in the country's relatively high growth
prospects is reflected in the record high stock market," said
Philip Wee, senior currency economist at DBS Bank. 
    "The growth is, however, accompanied by the return of the
first twin (budget and trade) deficit since 2002, and inflation
rising back above the 3 percent policy rate. This is reflected
more in the Philippine peso," Wee said.
  The Thai market was closed for a market holiday.  
    The Singapore dollar retreated, breaking a four-day
winning streak as the central bank cited the likelihood of a
slowdown in growth in 2018. 
    The Monetary Authority of Singapore keep its neutral stance
on monetary policy settings and maintained the local currency's
policy band, the pace at which it can appreciate against a
basket of rivals, at zero percent.
    "The benign tone for inflation and the cautious outlook for
2018 growth to be slightly below this year are likely to dampen
expectations for a tightening at the next review in April 2018,"
DBS Research said in a note.
    Meanwhile, the trade-reliant economy's gross domestic
product growth outpaced expectations in the third
    On a weekly basis the currency appreciated, after four
straight weeks in the red.    
    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0512 GMT.

 Change on the day at 0512 GMT                                 
  Currency                      Latest bid  Previous day    Pct
  Japan yen                     112.060           112.27  +0.19
  Sing dlr                      1.354             1.3521  -0.16
  Taiwan dlr                    30.182            30.213  +0.10
  Korean won                    1129.900          1133.2  +0.29
  Peso                          51.420             51.43  +0.02
  Rupiah                        13503.000          13504  +0.01
  Rupee                         64.910             65.08  +0.26
  Ringgit                       4.217               4.22  +0.07
  Yuan                          6.577             6.5897  +0.20
  Change so far in 2017                                        
  Currency                      Latest bid  End 2016        Pct
  Japan yen                     112.060           117.07  +4.47
  Sing dlr                      1.354             1.4490  +6.99
  Taiwan dlr                    30.182            32.279  +6.95
  Korean won                    1129.900         1207.70  +6.89
  Peso                          51.420             49.72  -3.31
  Rupiah                        13503.000          13470  -0.24
  Rupee                         64.910             67.92  +4.64
  Ringgit                       4.217             4.4845  +6.34
  Yuan                          6.577             6.9467  +5.63
 (Reporting by Hanna Paul; Editing by Eric Meijer)
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