Most Asian currencies climb, but Philippine peso drops

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BENGALURU (Aug 9): Most Asian currencies edged up on Thursday taking cues from the yuan, though the Philippine peso fell on disappointing economic growth data.

The Philippine growth pace in the second quarter was the lowest in nearly three years.

China's consumer price index (CPI) rose 2.1% in July from a year earlier, beating expectations but still within the government's comfort zone of 3%.

"Taken together with trade yesterday, (the China data) implies the economy is doing a little bit better than people thought," said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at FX provider AxiTrader.

China on Wednesday reported that its July exports rose more than expected, suggesting fresh US tariffs imposed last month have not yet had a significant impact on global demand for its goods.

The yuan was up 0.2% at 0611 GMT on Thursday, helping bolster other emerging Asian currencies.

South Korea's won climbed 0.2% to its firmest in over a week, while the Indonesian rupiah also touched its highest in more than a week, up 0.1%.

Thailand's baht climbed 0.2% to its strongest in two weeks and the Taiwan dollar was also up 0.1%.  

However, analysts said the firmer yuan against the US dollar may not last, with focus shifting to US inflation data for July due on Friday.

"If (US) CPI is high and it increases expectations about Fed timing then I would expect the current yuan stability to prove ephemeral," said McKenna, referring to the timing of possible interest rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six other major currencies, was up 0.1%.

Philippine peso

The Philippine peso weakened 0.3% following the data on economic growth in the country.

The peso has dropped nearly 6% so far this year, making it the second-worst performer in the region behind the Indian rupee.

The country's central bank is due to meet later in the day amid expectations of more policy tightening.

It raised its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points in May and again in June, looking to tame inflation and shore up the peso, which has been battered by concerns over a widening current account deficit and capital outflows.

The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0547 GMT.

CURRENCIES VS US DOLLAR

Currency                     Latest bid  Previous day  % move
Japan yen                    110.980     110.97        -0.01
Sing dlr                     1.363       1.3622        -0.03
Taiwan dlr                   30.602      30.616        +0.05
Korean won                   1117.500    1119.9        +0.21
Baht                         33.160      33.21         +0.15
Peso                         53.157      53.024        -0.25
Rupiah                       14410.000   14430         +0.14
Rupee                        68.605      68.62         +0.02
Ringgit                      4.070       4.074         +0.10
Yuan                         6.822       6.8318        +0.14

Change so far in 2018

Currency                     Latest bid  End 2017      % move
Japan yen                    110.980     112.67        +1.52
Sing dlr                     1.363       1.3373        -1.86
Taiwan dlr                   30.602      29.848        -2.46
Korean won                   1117.500    1070.50       -4.21
Baht                         33.160      32.58         -1.75
Peso                         53.157      49.977        -5.98
Rupiah                       14410.000   13565         -5.86
Rupee                        68.605      63.87         -6.90
Ringgit                      4.070       4.0440        -0.64
Yuan                         6.822       6.5069        -4.62