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EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies cautious ahead of Fed's Jackson Hole conference

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Patturaja  Murugaboopathy 
    Aug 21 (Reuters) - Asian currencies made little headway on
Monday as investors were reluctant to stake out new positions
ahead of U.S. Federal Reserve's annual central banking symposium
in Jackson Hole later in the week.
    While both Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and European
Central Bank President Mario Draghi are not expected to be
deliver any fresh policy messages in the conference, investors
were wary that any hawkish signal would affect regional
    "The expectations are not very strong in terms of a policy
hint. But it doesn't stop markets on speculating something of a
surprise," said Andy Ji, currency strategist at Commonwealth
Bank of Australia.
    Investors were also wary of any flare-up of tensions between
North Korea and United States as U.S. troops and South Korean
forces started a joint exercise on Monday.
    The South Korean won was the biggest gainer among
the regional currencies, rising nearly quarter of a percent on
the day, while the Indian rupee gained about 0.1
    China's yuan turned softer even amid firmer
guidance from the central bank as corporate dollar purchases
remained strong.
    The dollar index which tracks the greenback against a
basket of six major rivals, added 0.1 percent to 93.500.
    While concerns about U.S. President Donald Trump's ability
to push through his economic agenda is expected to continue to
weigh on the dollar, some analysts said the regional currencies
are not going to gain much out the dollar weakness. 
    "Despite the dollar being pretty soft, we expect Asian
currencies to be weaker in the short term," said Commonwealth
Bank of Australia's Ji.
    The reasons are ongoing tensions in North Korea, concerns of
a cyclical slowdown in the economies across the region
especially in China and uncertainty over balance-sheet unwinding
by the major central banks, he added.
    "The regional currencies are going to be pretty nervous in
the next few months." 
    The Indonesian rupiah was up 0.04 percent. 
Indonesia's central bank is expected to keep its benchmark
interest rate unchanged on Tuesday despite sluggish private
consumption that is denting economic growth, a Reuters poll
    "The fiscal deficit for this year is revised up to 2.9
percent and increased subsidies will be helpful in boosting
consumption," said Chang Wei Liang, FX strategist at Mizuho
    "There is unlikely to be a need for monetary policy to be
compensating for low inflation at this juncture."   
    The baht was up slightly up after strong GDP data
on Monday.
    Thailand's economy grew faster than expected in the second
quarter from the first, thanks to stronger exports and tourism.

    Having risen nearly 8 percent against the dollar this year,
the baht is the top performer in the region.
    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0549 GMT.
   Change on the                                            
  day at   0549                                  
  Currency            Latest bid   Previous day     Pct Move
  Japan yen        109.220               109.17        -0.05
  Sing dlr         1.363                 1.3628        +0.01
  Taiwan dlr       30.319                30.332        +0.04
  Korean won       1138.300              1141.3        +0.26
  Baht             33.199                 33.21        +0.03
  Peso*            51.470                51.355        -0.22
  Rupiah           13354.000              13361        +0.05
  Rupee            64.050                 64.14        +0.14
  Ringgit          4.286                  4.288        +0.05
  Yuan             6.673                 6.6679        -0.07
 *Closed for                                                
 market holiday                                  
  Change so far                                             
 in 2017                                         
  Currency         Latest bid     End 2016          Pct Move
  Japan yen        109.220               117.07        +7.19
  Sing dlr         1.363                 1.4490        +6.33
  Taiwan dlr       30.319                32.279        +6.46
  Korean won       1138.300             1207.70        +6.10
  Baht             33.199                 35.80        +7.83
  Peso             51.470                 49.72        -3.40
  Rupiah           13354.000              13470        +0.87
  Rupee            64.050                 67.92        +6.04
  Ringgit          4.286                 4.4845        +4.63
  Yuan             6.673                 6.9467        +4.11
 (Reporting by Patturaja Murugaboopathy in Bengaluru; Editing by
Kim Coghill)