September 12, 2019 / 5:56 AM / a month ago

EM ASIA FX-U.S.-China tariff gestures before talks lift Asian currencies

    * Taiwan dollar at strongest in nearly 2 months
    * Chinese onshore yuan rises 0.4%
    * Malaysian ringgit up before decision  

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Shriya Ramakrishnan
    Sept 12 (Reuters) - Concessions by Beijing and Washington
before planned talks aimed at defusing their bitter trade
dispute on Thursday sparked a rally among Asian currencies, with
that of export-dependent Taiwan leading the gains.
    Others that had solid advances were the onshore yuan
 - which reached its strongest level in nearly two
months - the baht and the rupee.   
     U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to delay an additional
increase in tariffs on Chinese goods by two weeks at the request
of Chinese Vice Premier Liu He "as a gesture of good will."

    The move, which supported broader risk appetites,  came a
day after China extended an olive branch by announcing
exemptions for 16 types of U.S. products from import tariffs.

    Stephen Innes, Asia-Pacific market strategist at AxiTrader,
said in a client note that Trump's move to delay the tariff
increase indicates "he too is willing to negotiate to put an end
to this trade war spat".
    The Taiwan dollar advanced as much as 0.7% against
the greenback. 
    Any easing in tensions between the world's two largest
economies would benefit Taiwan's trade-reliant economy, whose
manufacturers have suffered from trade war disruptions and
sluggish global demand for hi-tech gadgets like smartphones. 
    Taiwan's finance ministry had flagged a gradual
stabilisation in exports in the coming months, helped by the
peak year-end season for gadgets and by more factories moving
production back home from China amid the trade war.
    The baht, emerging Asia's top performing currency
this year and the rupee both appreciated 0.4%.
    Markets await the release of inflation and industrial
production figures for India later in the day, with a Reuters
poll predicting retail inflation to rise to a 10-month high in
August driven by higher food prices.
    The Singapore dollar, which is also highly sensitive
to trade developments, rose 0.2%.
    The Malaysian ringgit traded 0.2% higher to the
dollar before a monetary policy decision later in the day. 
    A Reuters poll predicted a hold, but some economists
predicted a rate cut.  
    "It largely boils down to whether Bank Negara Malaysia will
act pre-emptively again in order to cushion further downside
risks as limited fiscal space means that monetary policy will
have to do most of the heavy-lifting," said Mizuho Bank, which
saw a 60% chance of a 25 basis point cut.  
    Financial markets in South Korea were closed for a holiday. 
    In offshore trading, the Korean won strengthened 0.3%
against the dollar by 0509 GMT. 

 Change on the day at   0504 GMT                  
 Currency               Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen              108.040     107.81        -0.21
 Sing dlr               1.376       1.3791        +0.20
 Taiwan dlr             31.053      31.220        +0.54
 Baht                   30.460      30.57         +0.36
 Peso                   51.950      52.07         +0.23
 Rupiah                 14020.000   14055         +0.25
 Rupee                  71.373      71.65         +0.39
 Ringgit                4.170       4.178         +0.19
 Yuan                   7.087       7.1159        +0.41
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Currency               Latest bid  End 2018      Pct Move
 Japan yen              108.040     109.56        +1.41
 Sing dlr               1.376       1.3627        -0.99
 Taiwan dlr             31.053      30.733        -1.03
 Korean won             1191.000    1115.70       -6.32
 Baht                   30.460      32.55         +6.86
 Peso                   51.950      52.47         +1.00
 Rupiah                 14020.000   14375         +2.53
 Rupee                  71.373      69.77         -2.25
 Ringgit                4.170       4.1300        -0.96
 Yuan                   7.087       6.8730        -3.02

 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by
Richard Borsuk)
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