EM ASIA FX-Most Asian units advance ahead of Fed meeting

(Corrects 7th paragraph to say the Taiwan dollar rose as much
as 0.2 percent, not fell)
* Fed's two-day policy meeting starts later on Tuesday
* Thai c. bank seen keeping rates on hold on Wed
* Philippine peso weakens again

By Shriya Ramakrishnan
March 19 (Reuters) - Most emerging Asian currencies
strengthened against a weaker dollar on Tuesday, on expectations
that the U.S. Federal Reserve will confirm a dovish stance, amid
slowing global growth, at a policy meeting beginning later in
the day.
The Fed, which raised rates four times last year, is widely
expected to keep its benchmark overnight interest rate unchanged
and stick to a pledge of a "patient" approach to any further
hikes.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback
against a basket of six major currencies, hovered close to a
two-week low at 96.495.
The Korean won appreciated 0.1 percent to
1,1321.1 against the dollar.
The Philippine peso, which weakened last week after
the 2019 growth forecast was reduced and the new central bank
governor flagged the possibility of cuts in the amount of cash
banks must hold as reserves, slipped 0.2 percent against the
dollar.
"With monetary easing expected to accelerate (to boost
growth) and thus interest rate support to be weaker, markets now
see greater downside risks to the PHP," DBS said on Tuesday.
The Taiwan dollar rose 0.2 percent before paring
gains.
The island's export orders, considered a leading indicator
of demand for Asia's exports and hi-tech gadgets, are expected
to have contracted for a fourth straight month in February, a
Reuters poll showed. Data is due at 0800 GMT.
The Indian rupee, which has strengthened the past
six sessions, firmed as much as 0.3 percent against the dollar,
touching its highest point since Aug. 2, before the day's gains
were erased.
The rupee has generally appreciated the past few weeks, in
line with foreign inflows into Indian equities and debt markets
amid expectations that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the
ruling Bharatiya Janata Party will be re-elected in coming
elections.

THAI BAHT
The Thai baht gained 0.1 percent to 31.68 against
the dollar, ahead of a central bank policy meeting on Wednesday.
The Bank of Thailand is expected to keep its benchmark
policy rate steady for a second straight review after a hike in
December, in a bid to support a slowing economy.
In a note, Mizuho Bank said March 24 general elections
"could bring the country's extant polarization of political
views into relief again. The baht has now priced in a political
risk premium amidst renewed tensions."
The election will be the first since a military coup in
2014.

The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0521 GMT.
CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR
Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move
Japan yen 111.260 111.42 +0.14
Sing dlr 1.350 1.3509 +0.04
Taiwan dlr 30.800 30.832 +0.10
Korean won 1130.500 1132.1 +0.14
Baht 31.640 31.68 +0.13
Peso 52.770 52.69 -0.15
Rupiah 14223.000 14235 +0.08
Rupee 68.560 68.53 -0.05
Ringgit 4.074 4.076 +0.05
Yuan 6.716 6.7135 -0.04

Change so far in 2019
Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move
Japan yen 111.260 109.56 -1.53
Sing dlr 1.350 1.3627 +0.91
Taiwan dlr 30.800 30.733 -0.22
Korean won 1130.500 1115.70 -1.31
Baht 31.640 32.55 +2.88
Peso 52.770 52.47 -0.57
Rupiah 14223.000 14375 +1.07
Rupee 68.560 69.77 +1.76
Ringgit 4.074 4.1300 +1.37
Yuan 6.716 6.8730 +2.34

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



First Published: 2019-03-19 03:43:04
Updated 2019-03-19 08:34:11


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