EM ASIA FX-Won, Sing dollar rises to 9-mth high vs yen
* Won hits 2-1/2-yr high vs dlr; foreigners keep buying stocks
* StanChart advises short yen/rupiah; yen/won falls
* Rupiah at fresh 4-yr high vs dlr; BI intervention spotted (Updates with text, prices)
By Jongwoo Cheon
SINGAPORE, April 1 (Reuters) - The South Korean won and the Singapore dollar hit 9-month highs against the yen on Friday, benefiting from investors' hunger for higher yields from emerging Asian currencies, which have also been lifted by inflows into regional equities.
The won hit a 2-1/2-year high against the dollar for a second day on continuous inflows to the country's stock market, leading overall gains among Asian currencies versus the greenback.
Deutsche Bank said this week's equity inflows to Asia were the strongest in four months and added there was likely to be significant scope for further inflows into regional equities, which could push Asian currencies through resistance levels.
Emerging Asian currencies were also expected to be supported, especially against the yen, by continued policy tightening by central banks in the region as they battle to contain inflation.
Stronger U.S. job data later in the day may trigger a corrective move lower in regional currencies on Monday, but that will not change the longer-term bullish trend, analysts said.
"JPY has quickly shifted back into being the funding vehicle for long carry trade positions. It's difficult to see what will turn this around," said Jonathan Cavenagh, currency strategist at Westpac in Singapore.
The Japanese currency slid to a 10-month low against the euro and fell below its 200-day moving average versus the dollar.
The won strengthened to as firm as 13.0420 per yen, the strongest since June last year, and the Singapore dollar also gained to as strong as 1.0540 versus the yen, the strongest since the same month.
Several banks have also issued recommendations to take advantage of regional differences in monetary policy direction.
Westpac recommended selling Taiwan dollars and buying the won as higher inflation in South Korea may spur the central bank to tighten more than Taiwan's central bank.
"All else being equal there will be greater impetus for tighter policy in South Korea relative to Taiwan and we note that going short TWD/KRW in the 3 month NDF already generates positive carry to the tune of 4-5 percent," it said in a note.
The won strengthened to as firm as 1,091.0 per dollar, the strongest since Sept. 11, 2008, as foreign investors continued to scoop up Seoul shares and on a lack of clear signs of intervention by foreign exchange authorities.
Exporters also chased the South Korean currency.
Foreign investors extended their streak of stock buying to a 13 consecutive session, the longest since October 2010.
They purchased a net 733.2 billion won ($671.4 million), the largest daily purchase since Nov. 12, 2010.
The rupiah touched a fresh four-year high against the dollar on portfolio inflows to Indonesia.
The Indonesian currency strengthened to as firm as 8,692 per dollar, the strongest since May 2007, though dealers said the central bank was spotted buying dollars to check the local currency's strength.
"BI prefers to let IDR strengthen further if the CPI is high... But as March CPI is low, so BI will keep the IDR above 8,700," a Jakarta-based dealer said.
Indonesia's annual inflation slowed to 6.65 percent in March, below analysts' expectations but still above the central bank's end 2011 target range of 4 to 6 percent. [ID:nL3E7F10K0]
That reduced pressure on the central bank to raise interest rates at a review this month, pushing down short-dated the country's local currency bonds to nearly their lowest levels so far this year. [ID:nL3E7F10RP]
The peso underperformed its Asian peers on dollar-short coverings after the Philippines central bank's comments that it would not use the currency to curb rising prises.
The central bank's deputy governor said late on Thursday that the central bank will keep a market-determined exchange rate and will not drive the peso higher against the dollar to help tame inflation. [ID:nSGE72U03I]
The comment comes as revived appetite for Asian stocks have put upward pressure on emerging Asian currencies including the peso and the central bank have been spotted buying dollars to defend 43.30.
CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Change on the day at 0715 GMT Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 83.60 83.13 -0.56 Sing dlr 1.2613 1.2604 -0.07 Taiwan dlr 29.275 29.418 +0.49 Korean won 1091.70 1096.70 +0.46 Baht 30.25 30.25 +0.00 Peso 43.37 43.39 +0.05 Rupiah 8695.00 8705.00 +0.12 Rupee 44.59 44.59 +0.00 Ringgit 3.0250 3.0270 +0.07 Yuan 6.5473 6.5485 +0.02
Change so far in 2011 Currency Latest bid End prev year Pct Move Japan yen 83.60 81.15 -2.93 Sing dlr 1.2613 1.2820 +1.64 Taiwan dlr 29.275 30.368 +3.73 Korean won 1091.70 1134.80 +3.95 Baht 30.25 30.14 -0.36 Peso 43.37 43.84 +1.08 Rupiah 8695.00 9005.00 +3.57 Rupee 44.59 44.70 +0.25 Ringgit 3.0250 3.0820 +1.88 Yuan 6.5473 6.5897 +0.65 (Additional reporting by Clare Jim in TAIPEI and Catherine Tan of IFR Markets; Editing by Kim Coghill)
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