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Asia, Forex

Asian units slip as dollar holds firm; S.Korean won loses most

* Dollar gains as Fed minutes dent hopes of aggressive cuts * S.Korean won, Philippine peso and Indian rupee top losers * Indonesian rupiah flat ahead of central bank meeting (Adds text, updates prices) By Rashmi Ashok Aug 22 (Reuters) – Emerging Asian currencies fell on Thursday against a firm dollar, after minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s last meeting tempered market expectations of aggressive rate cuts. Policymakers were deeply divided on whether to cut interest rates last month but wanted to signal that they were not on a preset path to more cuts, minutes from the July meeting released on Wednesday showed. Investors now wait to see how dovish Fed Chair Jerome Powell chooses to be in his Jackson Hole speech on Friday. Following the release of Fed minutes, the greenback rose overnight and held on to its gains on Thursday. The dollar index stood slightly higher at 98.315 by 0506 GMT. The Korean won was the biggest loser, shedding 0.4%, while the Philippine peso gave up 0.3%. The Chinese yuan, the bellwether currency for the region, ticked 0.1% lower. The won’s sharp drop comes after it gained 0.7% over the last two sessions amid signs of easing in Japan’s curbs on exports from South Korea. Meanwhile, the Indonesian rupiah barely moved ahead of a central bank meeting later in the day where policymakers are largely expected to keep the key interest rate on hold. INDIAN RUPEE SLIPS AS CENBANK WRESTLES WITH WEAK GROWTH The Indian rupee was among worst performers, shedding 0.2%, after minutes from the central bank’s monetary policy meeting revived expectations for further easing. The minutes released late on Wednesday showed the monetary policy committee’s highest priority was fixing the country’s weak growth, with benign inflation outlook giving the central bank room to cut rates. “Given the current and evolving inflation and growth scenario at this juncture, it can no longer be a business as usual approach. The economy needs a larger push,” Governor Shaktikanta Das said in the minutes. DBS Group Research said in a note to clients that markets would, however, be split on the scale of any forthcoming cuts, after the unconventional 35 basis point cut in August. Since February, the Reserve Bank of India has cut the repo rate by a total of 110 basis points. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0507 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Change on the day at 0507 GMT Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 106.430 106.61 +0.17 Sing dlr 1.386 1.3840 -0.12 Taiwan dlr 31.367 31.366 -0.00 Korean won 1206.700 1202.5 -0.35 Baht 30.780 30.76 -0.06 Peso 52.330 52.18 -0.29 Rupiah 14240.000 14235 -0.04 Rupee 71.680 71.56 -0.17 Ringgit 4.180 4.175 -0.12 Yuan 7.074 7.0633 -0.14 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 106.430 109.56 +2.94 Sing dlr 1.386 1.3627 -1.66 Taiwan dlr 31.367 30.733 -2.02 Korean won 1206.700 1115.70 -7.54 Baht 30.780 32.55 +5.75 Peso 52.330 52.47 +0.27 Rupiah 14240.000 14375 +0.95 Rupee 71.680 69.77 -2.66 Ringgit 4.180 4.1300 -1.20 Yuan 7.074 6.8730 -2.83 (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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