March 12, 2018 / 6:13 AM / 7 months ago

EM ASIA FX-S.Korean won leads Asia currency gains as risk appetite returns

    * S.Korean won touches 6-week high
    * Philippine peso sole loser among Asian currencies

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Ambar Warrick
    March 12 (Reuters) - The South Korean won rose to
a 6-week high on Monday, extending gains from the previous
session as political tensions over the Korean peninsula eased on
the prospects of talks between the U.S. and North Korean heads
of state.
    Other Asian currencies gained slightly against a softer
    A slower increase in U.S. wage growth reported on Friday 
caused many to trim their expectations for the number of rate
hikes due from the Feds this year, which implies further
pressure on the dollar.
    Among regional currencies, the Singapore dollar
rose about 0.2 percent and the Taiwan dollar about 0.1
    The Indian rupee rose about 0.3 percent as
investors awaited inflation data later in the day.
    Indian retail inflation likely eased to a four-month low in
February on softening prices for vegetable and other perishable
foods, a Reuters poll showed. This, coupled with data last month
showing an improved pace of economic growth in the country, may
bring some comfort investors in the rupee.
    The Thai baht rose about 0.2 percent.
    The Chinese yuan inched up on a stronger fixing
from the central bank. Tensions over trade between the U.S. and
China grew over the weekend after Chinese Commerce Minister
Zhong Shan said that any trade war with the United States would
only bring disaster to the world economy.
    Meanwhile, the Philippine peso dipped slightly. A
decline in the country's export growth kept its trade deficit at
a high level, which implies further pressure on peso, which is
already the worst performer amongst its peers.  
The South Korean won led gains amongst its peers,
rising about 0.6 percent against the dollar.
    The won surged on Friday after U.S. President Donald Trump
said he was prepared to meet North Korea's Kim Jong Un a move
which could potentially mark a major breakthrough in nuclear
tensions with Pyongyang.
    "Market expectations for the touted Trump-Kin Jong Un
meeting are high, albiet the Trump administration acknowledging
that no concessions will be giben in the talks," OCBC said in a
research note.         
    South Korean stocks also followed suit by hitting a
5-week high. 
    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar on Monday.
 Change on the day at   0559 GMT                        
 Currency                     Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen                    106.640     106.77        +0.12
 Sing dlr                     1.315       1.3164        +0.14
 Taiwan dlr                   29.277      29.300        +0.08
 Korean won                   1063.700    1069.8        +0.57
 Baht                         31.290      31.34         +0.16
 Peso                         52.060      52.03         -0.06
 Rupiah                       13771.000   13777         +0.04
 Rupee                        65.005      65.17         +0.25
 Ringgit                      3.907       3.91          +0.08
 Yuan                         6.332       6.3360        +0.06
 Change so far in 2018                                  
 Currency                     Latest bid  End 2017      Pct Move
 Japan yen                    106.640     112.67        +5.65
 Sing dlr                     1.315       1.3373        +1.73
 Taiwan dlr                   29.277      29.848        +1.95
 Korean won                   1063.700    1070.50       +0.64
 Baht                         31.290      32.58         +4.12
 Peso                         52.060      49.93         -4.09
 Rupiah                       13771.000   13565         -1.50
 Rupee                        65.005      63.87         -1.75
 Ringgit                      3.907       4.0440        +3.51
 Yuan                         6.332       6.5069        +2.76

 (Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Biju
Dwarakanath and Kim coghill)
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