Company News

EM ASIA FX-Most Asia FX firmer, cautious ahead of U.S. data, Fed comments

* Ringgit gains on higher oil prices
    * Won turns firmer on S.Korean exporters' demand
    * Rupiah near 4-week low on month-end corporate dlr bids
    * Baht around 3-week trough on stocks, bonds outflows

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Jongwoo Cheon
    SINGAPORE, March 28 (Reuters) - Most emerging Asian
currencies firmed on Monday but gains were capped by caution
ahead of U.S. economic data and speeches by 
Federal Reserve officials this week which could add to the case
for more interest rate increases than markets had expected.
    Malaysia's ringgit was supported by higher oil
prices, while the South Korean won reversed earlier
losses on month-end corporate demand.
    Earlier, most regional currencies slid with the Indonesian
rupiah hitting a near four-week low on growing dollar
demand from importers for month-end payments.
    The Thai baht slumped to its lowest in about three
weeks on stock and bond outflows.
    St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said in an interview
with the Nikkei that the U.S. central bank may raise interest
rates in April or June. That followed a slew of remarks of other
Fed officials who supported expectations of more tightening.
    The U.S. economy grew at a 1.4 percent annual rate in the
fourth quarter, faster than a previously reported 1.0 percent,
the Commerce Department said on Friday. 
    "Fed officials generally looked to share views that they
need to maintain a rate hike path given a U.S. recovery," said
Jeong My-young, Samsung Futures' research head in Seoul.
    "That prompted investors to unwind bullish bets on Asian
currencies, which they built up after the Fed's March decision.
But Asian currencies are unlikely to turn to a depreciating
trend as possibilities of an April hike are still very low."
    The Fed earlier this month halved its interest rate hike
expectations to two from four this year.
    Investors are awaiting U.S. data including non-farm payrolls
and manufacturing PMI to see whether the economy is strong
enough to bear a series of rate increases.
    Fed officials such as Chair Janet Yellen and New York Fed
President William Dudley speak later this week.
    The won gained as South Korean exporters bought it for
month-end settlements, causing stop-loss dollar selling.
    Earlier, the South Korean currency eased as much as 0.3
percent to 1,173.1 per dollar as traders added dollar holdings
on the greenback's broad strength.
    "Despite growing expectations of more U.S. rate hikes, the
won is unlikely to return to a weakening trend unless it
depreciates to 1,180," said a South Korean bank trader in Seoul.
    The rupiah lost 0.7 percent to 13,340 per dollar, its
weakest since March 1.
    The Indonesian currency weakened in non-deliverable forwards
(NDFs) markets with its one-month NDFs around a
four-week low.
    The official Jakarta Interbank Spot Dollar Rate,
which the central bank introduced in 2013 to manage exchange
rate fluctuations, was fixed at 13,323, weaker than the previous
    The baht slid 0.4 percent to 35.405 per dollar, its weakest
since March 10.
    The Thai currency came under pressure as foreign investors
sold stocks and bonds on Friday.
    Gold importers also bought dollar to purchase the precious
metal on dips. Gold dropped to its weakest in a month due to a
strong U.S. dollar. 
    Gold is popular among Thai investors, and slides in the
precious metal's price often prompts investors to increase
holdings in the physical metal or in gold futures.
    Change on the day at 0535 GMT
  Currency                Latest bid   Previous day   Pct Move
  Japan yen                   113.62         113.11      -0.45
  Sing dlr                    1.3708         1.3715      +0.05
  Taiwan dlr                 32.6730         32.766      +0.28
  Korean won                 1165.10        1169.20      +0.35
  Baht                         35.39          35.26      -0.38
  Peso                         46.49          46.40      -0.19
  Rupiah                       13310          13250      -0.45
  Rupee                        66.75          66.64      -0.17
  Ringgit                     4.0210         4.0370      +0.40
  Yuan                        6.5147         6.5150      +0.00
  Change so far in 2016                                       
  Currency                Latest bid  End prev year   Pct Move
  Japan yen                   113.62         120.30      +5.88
  Sing dlr                    1.3708         1.4177      +3.42
  Taiwan dlr                  32.673         33.066      +1.20
  Korean won                 1165.10        1172.50      +0.64
  Baht                         35.39          36.00      +1.71
  Peso                         46.49          47.06      +1.23
  Rupiah                       13310          13785      +3.57
  Rupee                        66.75          66.15      -0.90
  Ringgit                     4.0210         4.2935      +6.78
  Yuan                        6.5147         6.4936      -0.32

 (Additional reporting by Satawasin Staporncharnchai in BANGKOK
and KyoungHo Lee in SEOUL; Editing by Kim Coghill)