May 15, 2019 / 5:47 AM / 2 months ago

EM ASIA FX-Rupiah hit by record trade gap but steadier yuan eases regional nerves

    * Thai baht weakens; economic growth seen slowing - deputy
    * Indonesian rupiah eases up to 0.2%

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Niyati Shetty
    May 15 (Reuters) - The Indonesian rupiah weakened on
Wednesday after the country posted a record trade deficit, but
most other Asian currencies enjoyed a welcome breather after
U.S. President Donald Trump softened his tough trade rhetoric
against China. 
    Trump insisted on Tuesday that talks between the world's
largest economies had not collapsed despite fresh U.S. tariff
measures on Friday and a Chinese reprisal, triggering some short
covering in battered global financial
    The yuan also steadied on the comments, despite unexpectedly
weak Chinese data on Wednesday that added to expectations
Beijing will have to roll out more economic stimulus
    The yuan was at 6.8750 per dollar, after losing
more than 2% since the trade war unexpectedly escalated last
    "While risk appetite may still be bruised from concerns of
full blown trade war, we think a significant portion of this
risk aversion may have been priced in," analysts at Maybank said
in a note to clients. 
    Currencies of export-reliant Asian nations that are
susceptible to the trade dispute were marginally stronger
against the greenback. The Korean won and the Taiwan
dollar each firmed 0.1%. 
    The Indian rupee also gained on improved risk
sentiment, strengthening 0.3% to 70.255 a dollar. 
    "Rather than trade links, India is vulnerable to any
escalation in the trade war through capital outflows owing to
weak market sentiments." said Radhika Rao, economist at DBS Bank
in a note. 
    Elsewhere, the Thai baht declined 0.3% as the
country's deputy prime minister on Wednesday said he expects
economic growth to slow this year due to rising global tensions
and domestic political uncertainty.
    The Indonesia rupiah weakened as much as 0.2% as
Southeast Asia's largest economy posted it widest trade deficit
in history on April.
    The archipelago booked its first deficit in three months at
$2.5 billion as exports slumped and the pace of fall in imports
were slower than expected. 
    However, Bank Indonesia is expected to keep interest rates
unchanged at 6% for a sixth straight policy meeting on Thursday
due to renewed pressures on the rupiah, as per a Reuters poll.

    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0456 GMT.
 Currency               Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen              109.630     109.59        -0.04
 Sing dlr               1.368       1.3685        +0.03
 Taiwan dlr             31.107      31.128        +0.07
 Korean won             1188.500    1189.4        +0.08
 Baht                   31.580      31.5          -0.25
 Peso                   52.358      52.284        -0.14
 Rupiah                 14440.000   14425         -0.10
 Rupee                  70.255      70.44         +0.26
 Ringgit                4.172       4.169         -0.07
 Yuan                   6.875       6.8753        +0.00
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Currency               Latest bid  End 2018      Pct Move
 Japan yen              109.630     109.56        -0.06
 Sing dlr               1.368       1.3627        -0.39
 Taiwan dlr             31.107      30.733        -1.20
 Korean won             1188.500    1115.70       -6.13
 Baht                   31.580      32.55         +3.07
 Peso                   52.358      52.47         +0.21
 Rupiah                 14440.000   14375         -0.45
 Rupee                  70.255      69.77         -0.69
 Ringgit                4.172       4.1300        -1.01
 Yuan                   6.875       6.8730        -0.03

 (Reporting by Niyati Shetty in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim
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