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EM ASIA FX-Most Asian currencies move marginally; rupiah slides to 4-mth low

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Shashwat Pradhan
    May 19 (Reuters) - Most emerging Asian currencies trod water
on Friday, as wariness about political turmoil in Washington
continued to dent risk appetites.
    Overall, regional currencies were mixed, though most had
small slips.
    The biggest loser was the Indonesian rupiah, which
fell as much of 0.5 percent to touch its lowest since Jan. 4.
The rupiah, which weakened on Wednesday and Thursday, It dropped
on demand for dollars ahead of the start of the Muslim fasting
month of Ramadan and holidays celebrating its completion.
    Ramadan starts in late May.
     "A lot of people will be going on holiday during the
Lebaran (Idul Fitri) festivities which is in the next couple of
months. They will need to accumulate U.S. dollars," said Harry
Su, head of research at Jakarta-based Bahana Securities.
    Indonesia's central bank on Thursday kept its benchmark
 where it has been since October, wary of risks
including a "big chance" U.S. interest rates will rise in June.
    For emerging Asian currencies in general, a lingering worry
is that political turmoil in Washington will delay efforts by
President Donald Trump to implement economic stimulus plans.
    Trump, striking a defiant tone on Thursday, denied asking
former FBI Director James Comey to drop a probe into his former
national security adviser and decried a "witch hunt" against
    Risk sentiment was also partially affected by Brazil, where
financial markets tumbled due to a political crisis involving
President Michel Temer and the country's biggest-ever graft
    Temer defiantly said he would not resign after the Supreme
Court authorized an investigation into allegations he condoned
bribes to a potential witness, 
    "While the Brazil issue stole markets' attention, the matter
is likely domestic and should impose little impact upon this
part of the world," said Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG in
    The Korean won edged 0.1 percent lower and is on
track for its third-straight day of losses against the dollar.
    A sharp acceleration in U.S. factory activity gave the
dollar a lift on international exchanges, putting extra pressure
on the won.
    The Chinese yuan inched 0.1 percent lower after
data showed that foreign direct investment into China fell 0.1
percent to 286.41 billion yuan  ($41.56 billion) in the first
four months of 2017 from the same period a year
    The Indian rupee eked out marginal gains after
tumbling more than 1 percent in its steepest fall since Aug.
    The currency is on track for its biggest weekly fall since
Nov. 2016.
    Investors raised their long positions in some Asian
currencies compared with two weeks ago, a Reuters poll showed on
Thursday, after the dollar was bruised by Washington events and
softer-than-expected economic data.
    Long positions in the Chinese yuan rose
marginally from two weeks ago and reached the largest since July
2015, while Taiwan dollar long positions increased to
the biggest since February 2011.
    Investors were estimated to have long positions in all nine
Asian currencies covered by the Reuters poll, which surveyed 15
analysts and traders.
    Singapore dollar long positions nearly doubled from
two weeks ago to the largest since March 2016, while bets on the
Philippine peso turned slightly bullish, the first
bullish peso positioning since September 2016.
    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0624 GMT.
  Currency                 Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
  Japan yen              111.230             111.47     +0.22
  Sing dlr               1.392               1.3924     +0.06
  Taiwan dlr             30.190              30.225     +0.12
  Korean won             1125.900            1124.5     -0.12
  Baht                   34.500               34.49     -0.03
  Peso                   49.870              49.805     -0.13
  Rupiah                 13388.000            13353     -0.26
  Rupee                  64.820               64.84     +0.03
  Ringgit                4.320                4.326     +0.14
  Yuan                   6.893               6.8860     -0.10
  Change so far                                              
  Currency               Latest bid    End 2016      Pct Move
  Japan yen              111.230             117.07     +5.25
  Sing dlr               1.392               1.4490     +4.13
  Taiwan dlr             30.190              32.279     +6.92
  Korean won             1125.900           1207.70     +7.27
  Baht                   34.500               35.80     +3.77
  Peso                   49.870               49.72     -0.30
  Rupiah                 13388.000            13470     +0.61
  Rupee                  64.820               67.92     +4.78
  Ringgit                4.320               4.4845     +3.81
  Yuan                   6.893               6.9467     +0.78
($1 = 6.8912 Chinese yuan)

 (Reporting by Shashwat Pradhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard