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EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies firmer on improved sentiment, S.Korean won leads gains

    * Baht resumes trade on strong footing
    * S.Korean won up on North-South co-operation
    * Yuan hit by China growth concerns

 (Adds details on won, yuan and rupiah, updates prices)
    By Sumeet Gaikwad
    Oct 16 (Reuters) - Asian currencies made slight advances
against the dollar on Tuesday as global sentiment towards
riskier assets improved following heavier losses over the past
week and as investors awaited U.S. economic data for cues on
greenback direction.
    The dollar dipped 0.2 percent overnight after data
showed U.S. retail sales rose slower-than-expected at 0.1
percent in September.
    "There is not going be very clear dollar direction until we
see a more noticeable rise in treasury yields or somewhat
stronger U.S. data coming through to support the rise in the
dollar," said Chang Wei Liang, an FX strategist at Mizuho Bank.
    Emerging market currencies have taken a hit recently amid
worsening diplomatic tensions between the United States and
Saudi Arabia following the disappearance of a Saudi reporter in
    The disappearance earlier this month of the journalist, who
was critical of Riyadh, has provoked an international outcry
against the oil-rich kingdom, which has rattled its financial
markets and currency.
    In Asia, the South Korean won was the biggest
gainer after it agreed to begin reconnecting rail and road links
with its neighbour in the north, boosting sentiment over
stability in the region.
    The export-reliant economy often sees currency moves linked
to its equity market. South Korean equities rose as much
as 0.8 percent on Tuesday. 
    The Thai baht resumed trade on a strong footing
after a pubic holiday in Thailand, rising as much as 0.37
percent to the dollar. 
    The Philippine peso was largely flat at 54.07 to the
dollar. The government cut gross domestic product growth target
for the year to 6.5-6.9 percent from 7-8 percent previously.

    The Philippine government also expects the peso/dollar rate
to average 52.50-53.00 in 2018.
    The Chinese yuan softened 0.09 percent against
the dollar after China's factory-gate inflation cooled for a
third straight month in September.
    Strong global crude prices hurt the Indonesian rupiah
, which weakened 0.07 percent. 
    Saudi crude supply concerns pushed oil prices higher, adding
to negative sentiment ahead of U.S. sanctions against Iran's oil
    The archipelago reported a steep fall in exports growth for
the month of September, its second straight month of decline.
Central bank governor Perry Warjiyo said weak export growth in
September was due to soft Chinese demand.
    Investors are eyeing the country's imports as the economy
struggles to maintain a current account surplus.
    The yuan has fallen over 6 percent this year, a source of
diplomatic concern for the world's second biggest economy as it
remains locked in an intensifying trade war with the United
     China's third-quarter growth will likely slow to its
weakest pace since the global financial crisis, a Reuters poll
    "Yuan is pretty much dependent on how the U.S. economy
evolves, in terms of whether or not they bring about a stronger
rates profile as well as how the actual impact of the trade war
will be on the export oriented sector in China," Mizuho's Chang

    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0516 GMT.
 Change on the day at   0516 GMT                        
 Currency                     Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen                    112.090     111.76        -0.29
 Sing dlr                     1.378       1.3765        -0.09
 Taiwan dlr                   30.890      30.940        +0.16
 Korean won                   1127.500    1134.3        +0.60
 Baht                         32.680      32.74         +0.18
 Peso                         54.070      54.08         +0.02
 Rupiah                       15220.000   15200         -0.13
 Rupee                        73.895      73.83         -0.09
 Ringgit                      4.153       4.154         +0.02
 Yuan                         6.925       6.9185        -0.09
 Change so far in 2018                                  
 Currency                     Latest bid  End 2017      Pct Move
 Japan yen                    112.090     112.67        +0.52
 Sing dlr                     1.378       1.3373        -2.94
 Taiwan dlr                   30.890      29.848        -3.37
 Korean won                   1127.500    1070.50       -5.06
 Baht                         32.680      32.58         -0.31
 Peso                         54.070      49.93         -7.66
 Rupiah                       15220.000   13565         -10.87
 Rupee                        73.895      63.87         -13.57
 Ringgit                      4.153       4.0440        -2.62
 Yuan                         6.925       6.5069        -6.04
 (Reporting by Sumeet Gaikwad in Bengaluru, Additional reporting
by Ambar Warrick; Editing by Sam Holmes)