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EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies take breather, languish below recent peaks

    * Asian currencies mostly steady to firmer vs dollar
    * But most Asian currencies down from their recent highs

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    SINGAPORE, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies were
steady to firmer on Wednesday, but  still nursed losses from the
previous day when they fell on worries over European political
risks and after data showed a drop in China's foreign exchange
    South Korea's won edged up 0.1 percent to
1,143.08 versus the dollar. On Tuesday, the won had shed 0.5
percent and pulled away from a near three-month high of 1,135.6
set on Monday.
    The Indian rupee inched up 0.1 percent to 67.32,
with the near-term focus on the Reserve Bank of India's interest
rate decision later on Wednesday.
    A Reuters poll last week showed 28 of 46 participants expect
India's central bank to cut the repo rate by 25
basis points to 6.0 percent, its lowest since November 2010.
Another two expected a 50 bps cut.
    The Taiwan dollar eased 0.1 percent to 31.078,
having backed off from a 19-month high of 30.83 set on Monday. 
    The Chinese yuan rose 0.1 percent to 6.8810,
after touching a three-week low of 6.8916 earlier on Wednesday.
    The yuan had slipped on Tuesday after data showed that
China's foreign exchange reserves unexpectedly fell below the
closely watched $3 trillion level in January for the first time
in nearly six years.
    Reserves fell $12.3 billion in January to $2.998 trillion,
more than the $10.5 billion that economists polled by Reuters
had expected.
    The drop in China's reserves underscores the ongoing
pressure from capital outflows, said Heng Koon How, senior FX
investment strategist at Credit Suisse in Singapore.
    "From a structural and cyclical perspective, the Chinese
yuan will continue to weaken," Heng said, adding that the yuan
will probably fall to levels beyond 7.00 per U.S. dollar in the
second quarter. 
    The yuan is facing pressure from ongoing capital outflows
and declining foreign exchange reserves, as well as rising U.S.
interest rates, with the Federal Reserve still expected to raise
interest rates twice this year, Heng added. 
    The yuan is still up nearly 1 percent so far in 2017, 
having rallied on short-covering after China clamped down on
capital outflows and speculators. 
    A Reuters poll on Tuesday has forecast the yuan will fall to
7.18 per dollar in 12 months, as the authorities continue to
halt capital outflows and despite the recent hike in short-term
interest rates.

  Change on the day at   0510 GMT                      
  Currency                Latest bid   Previous     Pct
                                            day    Move
  Japan yen                   112.27     112.40   +0.12
  Sing dlr                    1.4167     1.4180   +0.09
  Taiwan dlr                  31.078     31.048   -0.10
  Korean won                 1143.08    1144.30   +0.11
  Baht                         35.03      35.04   +0.02
  Peso                        49.770     49.780   +0.02
  Rupiah                       13325      13324   -0.01
  Rupee                        67.32      67.41   +0.13
  Ringgit                     4.4380     4.4340   -0.09
  Yuan                        6.8810     6.8861   +0.07
  Change so far                                        
 in 2017                                         
  Currency                Latest bid   End prev     Pct
                                           year    Move
  Japan yen                   112.27     117.07   +4.28
  Sing dlr                    1.4167     1.4490   +2.28
  Taiwan dlr                  31.078     32.279   +3.86
  Korean won                 1143.08    1207.70   +5.65
  Baht                         35.03      35.80   +2.20
  Peso                         49.77      49.72   -0.10
  Rupiah                       13325      13470   +1.09
  Rupee                        67.32      67.92   +0.89
  Ringgit                     4.4380     4.4845   +1.05
  Yuan                        6.8810     6.9467   +0.95
 (Reporting by Masayuki Kitano; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)