February 7, 2018 / 6:23 AM / 5 months ago

EM ASIA FX-South Korean won leads as Asia-Pacific gets back to normal

    * Regional currencies rise in lock step with equities
    * South Korean won firms most
    * Taiwan dollar gains ahead of trade data

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Aaron Saldanha
    Feb 7 (Reuters) - All Asian currencies recovered their
losses against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday as a degree of calm
returned to the region's equity markets. 
    MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
 was last up 0.8 percent after rising as much as
2 percent in early trade.
    "Most of the volatility is concentrated in stocks as Asian
equity markets followed U.S. stock indices closely. However, the
FX and interest rates space has been relatively quiet despite
the sharp spike in the VIX (volatility gauge), pointing to a
contained fallout in just one asset class," DBS Group
strategists Eugene Leow and Philip Wee said in a note.
    "With the rebound in the Dow last night, some semblance of
stability has likely been established."
    The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies
 was mostly flat at 89.608, edging away from the two-week
peak of 90.034 set overnight.
    South Korea's won was 0.6 percent firmer against
the dollar, making it the region's biggest gainer. It had firmed
as much as 1.1 percent earlier on Wednesday. 
    South Korea's foreign exchange reserves rose for the third
straight month to $395.75 billion at end-January, the central
bank said on Monday.
    The Taiwan dollar was also among the region's
biggest gainers, firming about 0.5 percent. Taiwan, which is a
significant exporter of electronic goods, reports trade data
later in the day. 
    Similarly, the Thai baht firmed about 0.1 percent
and the Malaysian ringgit by 0.2 percent. Malaysia is
also due to issue trade later on Wednesday.
    Malaysian exports are expected to have risen in December at
a slower annual pace for a second consecutive month, a Reuters
poll projected, reflecting their strong previous performances
and lower commodity prices.
    The positive sentiment carried across the Strait of Malacca
to Indonesia where the rupiah followed suit, albeit not
to the same extent.
    The Philippine peso strengthened 0.5 percent
while the Philippine Stock Exchange's equity index added
as much as 1.8 percent during the day.
    Meanwhile, the Singapore dollar firmed 0.1 percent on
Wednesday. The city-state is due to report on its foreign
exchange reserves later in the day.

    India's rupee was 0.1 percent stronger ahead of the
central bank's rate-setting meeting on Wednesday, with analysts
polled by Reuters expecting no policy change to the Reserve Bank
of India's repurchase and reverse repurchase rates.
    After maintaining an even keel in the face of regional
volatility on Tuesday, the Chinese yuan firmed 0.4
percent against the dollar on Wednesday. 
   China's central bank lifted its official yuan midpoint
 to 6.2882 per dollar on Wednesday, the strongest
level since August 2015.   
    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0525 GMT.
   Change on the day at 0525 GMT                              
  Currency                         Latest bid  Previous    Pct
                                                    day   Move
  Japan yen                        109.160       109.55  +0.36
  Sing dlr                         1.318         1.3187  +0.09
  Taiwan dlr                       29.232        29.386  +0.53
  Korean won                       1084.700      1091.5  +0.63
  Baht                             31.470        31.499  +0.09
  Peso                             51.195         51.46  +0.52
  Rupiah                           13543.000      13550  +0.05
  Rupee                            64.165         64.24  +0.12
  Ringgit                          3.905         3.9135  +0.22
  Yuan                             6.255         6.2810  +0.42
  Change so far                                               
  Currency                         Latest bid  End 2017    Pct
  Japan yen                        109.160       112.67  +3.22
  Sing dlr                         1.318         1.3373  +1.50
  Taiwan dlr                       29.232        29.848  +2.11
  Korean won                       1084.700     1070.50  -1.31
  Baht                             31.470         32.58  +3.53
  Peso                             51.195         49.93  -2.47
  Rupiah                           13543.000      13565  +0.16
  Rupee                            64.165         63.87  -0.46
  Ringgit                          3.905         4.0440  +3.56
  Yuan                             6.255         6.5069  +4.03
 (Reporting by Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru; Editing by Eric
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