EM ASIA FX-Most Asian currencies edge up after Sino-U.S. trade deal

By Niyati Shetty

* Lot of trade optimism already priced in - analyst * S. Korean won slips; cenbank policy meeting due on Friday * Indonesian rupiah firms to near 2-year high (Adds text, updates prices) By Niyati Shetty Jan 16 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies clocked slight gains against the greenback on Thursday after the United States and China signed an initial trade deal, though risk appetite was subdued as a number of contentious issues remained unresolved. The Chinese yuan rose 0.13% to 6.881 per dollar. The currency has gained about 2% since December. The deal signed by U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on Wednesday will see China boost purchases of U.S. products in exchange for a roll back of some tariffs, but does not address several structural differences that led to the conflict. "Lot of the optimism on this (trade) front has already been priced in," analysts at DBS Bank said in a note. The Philippine peso added 0.2%, while the Taiwan dollar and the Malaysian ringgit edged up. The South Korea won retreated 0.2% ahead of Bank of Korea's (BoK) policy meeting due on Friday. A Reuters poll showed that the central bank is likely to keep rates on hold at 1.25% due to signs of economic recovery, though any further uncertainties in its growth outlook could result in rate cuts again this year. "Pressure for the BoK to cut rates to support growth has been reduced recently, thanks to the stabilisation in external trade conditions and the pickup in domestic demand," DBS said. NO INTERVENTION TO RUPIAH RALLY The Indonesian rupiah was firmed as much as 0.3% to its strongest level since February 2018. The central bank on Thursday said a stronger rupiah will not harm exporters, refuting concerns raised by Indonesia's President Joko Widodo earlier in the day that exporters may be upset if the currency strengthens too quickly against the dollar. Bank Indonesia's deputy governor reaffirmed that the rupiah was strengthening on improving fundamentals and added that the central bank did not see a need to intervene. The rupiah has gained 1.7% so far this year, making it the best performing currency in the region. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0452 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 109.920 109.88 -0.04 Sing dlr 1.346 1.3460 +0.00 Taiwan dlr 29.941 29.950 +0.03 Korean won 1159.700 1157 -0.23 Baht 30.290 30.26 -0.10 Peso 50.660 50.76 +0.20 Rupiah 13645.000 13660 +0.11 Rupee 70.800 70.81 +0.01 Ringgit 4.067 4.0681 +0.03 Yuan 6.884 6.8900 +0.08 Change so far in 2020 Currency Latest bid End 2019 Pct Move Japan yen 109.920 108.61 -1.19 Sing dlr 1.346 1.3444 -0.12 Taiwan dlr 29.941 30.106 +0.55 Korean won 1159.700 1156.40 -0.28 Baht 30.290 29.91 -1.25 Peso 50.660 50.65 -0.02 Rupiah 13645.000 13880 +1.72 Rupee 70.800 71.38 +0.82 Ringgit 4.067 4.0890 +0.54 Yuan 6.884 6.9632 +1.15 (Reporting by Niyati Shetty in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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