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EM ASIA FX-Asia FX rally as gloomy U.S. data hurts Fed rate hike bets

* Won close to 15-mth peak; S.Korea says ready to act on FX
    * Taiwan dollar not far from 13-month high, importers limit
    * Baht rises as foreigners buy Thai bonds

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Jongwoo Cheon
    SEOUL, Sept 7 (Reuters) - Most emerging Asian currencies
rose on Wednesday as disappointing U.S. services sector data
eased expectations of an immediate interest rate hike by the
Federal Reserve, helping investors keep seeking higher yields in
the region.
    "A September hike is now off the table and December is
uncertain too. So the risk is on," said a senior Malaysian bank
currency trader in Kuala Lumpur.
    The Institute for Supply Management's data showed on Tuesday
that the U.S. service sector last month grew at its slowest pace
since early 2010 with its non-manufacturing purchasing managers'
index far short of expectations. The service sector makes up
more than two-thirds of the U.S. economy. 
    South Korea's won and Taiwan's dollar 
rose to hover around their strongest levels in more than one
year on capital inflows. The Thai baht gained as
foreigners resumed buying local bonds.
    The Malaysian ringgit advanced as traders cut
holdings in a tumbling dollar. Investors were awaiting the
central bank monetary policy decision due later in the day,
while Bank Negara Malaysia is expected to keep its benchmark
interest rate unchanged. 
    "The weak ISM (data) and the NFP from last Friday clearly
lowered chance for September hike," said Nordea Markets' senior
analyst Amy Yuan Zhuang in Singapore, referring to the August
non-farm payrolls, which missed expectations. She said
possibilities of a December tightening also fell "a little".
    "In the short-term, Asia FX may be attractive. There is not
much big downside for Asia FX in the near term as long as the
CNY is steady. But no hike in September is already priced in to
some extent."
    The Chinese yuan strengthened for a second
consecutive day after the central banks set its daily guidance
rate firmer. 
    
    WON
    The won rose as much as 1.2 percent to 1,092.4 per dollar,
compared with a near 15-month high of 1,091.8 hit on Aug 10.
    Foreign investors bought South Korea's stocks and bonds,
while local exporters were lined up to purchase the won for
settlements ahead of a long holiday next week.
    The South Korean currency pared some of its earlier gains as
finance ministry officials said the authorities are ready to
take action in case of excessive currency movements. 
 The warning boosted caution over possible
intervention to stem further strength in the best-performing
emerging Asian currency so far this year.
    Domestic importers bought dollar for payments on dips,
limiting the won's strength.
    
    BAHT
    The baht rose as foreign investors were net buyers in
Thailand's bond market on Tuesday.
    The government bond prices rose with foreign
demand.
    Currency traders scrambled for the baht to unwind bearish
bets in the currency.
    
    TAIWAN DOLLAR
    The Taiwan dollar advanced 0.7 percent to 31.185 per U.S.
dollar, its strongest since Aug 11 when the island's currency
hit a 13-month peak.
    Foreign investors continued to buy local stocks after
purchasing a combined net T$9.3 billion ($297.8 million) in the
first four sessions of this month, the Taiwan Stock Exchange
data showed. 
    The Taiwan dollar pared some of its earlier gains as
importers bought the greenback around 31.200-31.400.
    The central bank has not yet spotted intervening to curb the
Taiwan dollar's strength, traders said.
    
    CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR
    Change on the day at 0405 GMT
  Currency                Latest bid   Previous day  Pct Move
  Japan yen                   101.43         102.02     +0.58
  Sing dlr                    1.3474         1.3463     -0.08
  Taiwan dlr                  31.233         31.412     +0.57
  Korean won                 1092.71        1105.20     +1.14
  Baht                         34.59          34.66     +0.22
  Peso                        46.570         46.600     +0.06
  Rupiah                       13075          13125     +0.38
  Rupee                        66.37          66.52     +0.23
  Ringgit                     4.0635         4.0780     +0.36
  Yuan                        6.6692         6.6730     +0.06
                                                             
  Change so far in 2016                                      
  Currency                Latest bid  End prev year  Pct Move
  Japan yen                   101.43         120.30    +18.60
  Sing dlr                    1.3474         1.4177     +5.22
  Taiwan dlr                  31.233         33.066     +5.87
  Korean won                 1092.71        1172.50     +7.30
  Baht                         34.59          36.00     +4.09
  Peso                         46.57          47.06     +1.05
  Rupiah                       13075          13785     +5.43
  Rupee                        66.37          66.15     -0.33
  Ringgit                     4.0635         4.2935     +5.66
  Yuan                        6.6692         6.4936     -2.63
 
 (Reporting by Jongwoo Cheon; Additional reporting by Satawasin
Staporncharnchai in BANGKOK and Liang-sa Loh in TAIPEI; Editing
by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
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