CORRECTED-EM ASIA FX-Most Asia FX steady, soothed by stimulus hopes; Malaysian ringgit outperforms (Aug 19)

By Rashmi Ashok

(Corrects 3rd paragraph in Aug 19 report to say Fitch Solutions, not Fitch Ratings) * Fitch Solutions raises Malaysia's 2019 growth forecast * Ringgit and Rupiah gain most * Other regional units subdued as growth fears persist By Rashmi Ashok Aug 19 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies held steady on Monday as global recession fears were soothed by stimulus hopes, while the Malaysian ringgit extended gains after ratings agency Fitch raised the country's growth forecast on the back of strong economic data. The ringgit advanced 0.2%, while the Indonesian rupiah built on gains from Friday to be up 0.3%. Earlier on Monday, Fitch Solutions revised Malaysia's 2019 growth forecast to 4.6%, up from 4.2%, after the country reported stronger-than-expected growth over the first half. The sturdier growth in Malaysia contrasted with many of its peers in the region, which have slowed this year as the U.S.-China trade war hurt demand for exports. The Indonesian rupiah was the top performer, extending Friday's gains after Indonesia's budget on Friday set a slightly optimistic target on growth. The 2020 gross domestic product (GDP) growth target of 5.3% was the same as the current year, although officials have often said 2019 growth would come in slightly lower. Broader sentiment remained subdued even though signs of more steps from China to support businesses appeared to calm investors unnerved by nagging recession fears. Other major economies, including Germany and the eurozone, have also flagged more stimulus to boost growth. The Chinese yuan traded slightly lower, while the Korean won also ticked down. China's central bank unveiled a key interest rate reform on Saturday to help steer borrowing costs lower for companies and support an economy gripped by bruising trade war with the United States. The move would be helpful, said Sim Moh Siong, FX strategist at Bank of Singapore. However, "the message so far is that while they do have the capacity to provide more stimulus to the economy, they are not planning to go about it in a big way," he said. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0546 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Change on the day at 0546 GMT Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 106.380 106.36 -0.02 Sing dlr 1.385 1.3842 -0.03 Taiwan dlr 31.349 31.366 +0.05 Korean won 1211.500 1210.8 -0.06 Baht 30.860 30.86 +0.00 Peso 52.290 52.3 +0.02 Rupiah 14195.000 14230 +0.25 Rupee 71.228 71.15 -0.11 Ringgit 4.166 4.176 +0.24 Yuan 7.047 7.0420 -0.07 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 106.380 109.56 +2.99 Sing dlr 1.385 1.3627 -1.58 Taiwan dlr 31.349 30.733 -1.96 Korean won 1211.500 1115.70 -7.91 Baht 30.860 32.55 +5.48 Peso 52.290 52.47 +0.34 Rupiah 14195.000 14375 +1.27 Rupee 71.228 69.77 -2.05 Ringgit 4.166 4.1300 -0.86 Yuan 7.047 6.8730 -2.47 (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru Editing by Shri Navaratnam)