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EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies rise after Trump's dollar comments

* Onshore yuan, Thai baht set 2-month highs at one point
    * Taiwan dollar touches three-month high
    * Profit-taking may weigh on U.S. dollar for now -trader

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Masayuki Kitano
    SINGAPORE, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Emerging Asian currencies rose
broadly on Wednesday after the dollar was pressured by U.S.
President-elect Donald Trump's comments showing concern over the
greenback's strength. 
    The Thai baht climbed to around 35.22 per U.S.
dollar at one point, its highest level in more than two months.
The Taiwan dollar touched a three-month high at 31.410. 
    The onshore yuan hit a high of 6.8483 per dollar
at one point, its strongest level since mid-November, but later
turned lower.
    Asian currencies gained a boost as the dollar languished
near its lowest levels since early December against a basket of
six major currencies. The dollar index last stood at 100.49
, after sliding to 100.26 on Tuesday, its lowest since
Dec. 8.
    A selloff in the dollar had deepened on Tuesday after U.S.
traders returned from a long weekend and reacted to Trump's
weekend comments. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal,
Trump said U.S. companies "can't compete with (China) now
because our currency is strong and it's killing us."
 
    That gave an added lift to Asian currencies, which have
risen this month on the back of a fierce short-squeeze in the
yuan, and as the dollar fell after a news conference by Trump
last week offered little clarity on his plans for fiscal
stimulus.
    There will probably be some more profit-taking in long
dollar positions going into Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20,
especially given the uncertainty over what Trump will actually
do and how soon, said Jesper Bargmann, head of trading for
Nordea Bank in Singapore.
    "It's going to be very important that he does something
around fiscal stimulus, tax cuts and investment pretty quick.
Otherwise I think the market will get nervous and sell dollars
again," Bargmann said.
    A Reuters poll last week showed that market positioning was 
seen as being long the U.S. dollar against most emerging Asian
currencies. 
    Trump's comments on the dollar's strength were probably
aimed at managing the pace of the U.S. currency's rise, said
Heng Koon How, senior FX investment strategist at Credit Suisse.
    While the dollar may stay weak for now, its strength will
probably return after a month or two, Heng said. 
    The U.S. Federal Reserve is likely to gradually raise
interest rates, and if Trump succeeds in implementing fiscal
stimulus, that will trigger the next phase of U.S. growth and
inflation, he said.
    "Our view is that the dollar will continue to strengthen
this year," Heng added.
    San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams
on Tuesday said he sees a "good case" for three rate hikes this
year even without any fiscal stimulus, but if the economy
accelerates, the Fed would need to raise rates faster.
 

    CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR  
  Change on the day at   0501 GMT                        
  Currency               Latest bid   Previous   Pct Move
                                           day  
  Japan yen                  113.00     112.62      -0.34
  Sing dlr                   1.4193     1.4154      -0.27
  Taiwan dlr                 31.515     31.603      +0.28
  Korean won                1165.46    1174.50      +0.78
  Baht                        35.25      35.30      +0.14
  Peso                       49.710     49.830      +0.24
  Rupiah                      13333      13350      +0.13
  Rupee                       67.92      67.95      +0.03
  Ringgit                    4.4435     4.4600      +0.37
  Yuan                       6.8596     6.8501      -0.14
                                                         
  Change so far in                                       
 2017                                           
  Currency               Latest bid   End prev   Pct Move
                                          year  
  Japan yen                  113.00     117.07      +3.60
  Sing dlr                   1.4193     1.4490      +2.09
  Taiwan dlr                 31.515     32.279      +2.42
  Korean won                1165.46    1207.70      +3.62
  Baht                        35.25      35.80      +1.57
  Peso                        49.71      49.72      +0.02
  Rupiah                      13333      13470      +1.03
  Rupee                       67.92      67.92      -0.00
  Ringgit                    4.4435     4.4845      +0.92
  Yuan                       6.8596     6.9467      +1.27
                                                         
 
 (Reporting by Masayuki Kitano; Editing by Sunil Nair)
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