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EM ASIA FX-Most Asian currencies gain as North Korea fears ease; yuan hits 14-month high

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Christina Martin
    Aug 30 (Reuters) - Most emerging Asian currencies rose on
Wednesday, with the Chinese yuan hitting its highest level in
over a year, as investors' concerns over North Korea's latest
missile launch began to recede.
    North Korea's launch on Tuesday of a ballistic missile over
northern Japan initially spooked investors and triggered a slide
in the dollar, but North Korean media reports lacked the usual
claims of technical advances, suggesting the test may not have
gone as planned.
    China's yuan rose as much as 0.2 percent to its
highest since June 23, 2016, and was headed for a fourth
straight session of gains. 
    The South Korean won gained 0.4 percent, while
Malaysia's ringgit and the Indian rupee inched
    "First, risk sentiment is better due to lowered tensions
with North Korea. 'All options are on the table' sounds less
threatening than 'fire and fury', said Sean Yokota, head of Asia
strategy at Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken.
    "Second, the Chinese yuan's strength is dragging Asian FX
stronger. The central bank seems okay with a stronger currency."
    North Korea threatened earlier this month to fire four
missiles into the sea near Guam, home to big U.S. military
bases, after President Donald Trump said the North would face
"fire and fury" if it threatened the United States.
    Trump on Tuesday warned that all options are on the table
for the U.S. to respond to North Korea's missile test. 
    Currency traders are now looking to U.S. nonfarm payrolls
data for August, due on Friday, following data that showed U.S.
consumer confidence surged to a five-month high in August as the
labour market improved and house prices rose.
    China's yuan climbed to a 14-month high against
the U.S. dollar on Wednesday, after the central bank set sharply
firmer guidance and following stronger institutional and
corporate dollar sales. 
    Prior to market opening on Wednesday, the People's Bank of
China raised its official yuan midpoint to 6.6102 per
dollar, the strongest since Aug. 17, 2016.
    In the spot market, the onshore yuan rose for the fourth
straight day. It opened at 6.5980 per dollar and was changing
hands at 6.5818 by midday, 138 pips firmer than the previous
late session close of 6.5956 and 0.43 percent stronger than the
    The South Korean won and shares saw modest gains
early on Wednesday, recovering from earlier losses as market
participants' anxiety following North Korea's missile launch
eased for now.
    The won was quoted at 1,122 as of 0509 GMT, up 0.4 percent
compared to Tuesday's close of 1,126.4. 
    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0511 GMT.
  Currency               Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
  Japan yen              109.79            109.74     -0.05
  Sing dlr               1.3546            1.3548     +0.01
  Taiwan dlr             30.140            30.200     +0.20
  Korean won             1122              1126.4     +0.37
  Baht                   33.200             33.16     -0.12
  Peso                   51.150             51.11     -0.08
  Rupiah                 13342              13338     -0.03
  Rupee                  63.95              64.02     +0.11
  Ringgit                4.269             4.2655     -0.07
  Yuan                   6.584             6.5956     +0.18
  Change so far in 2017                                    
  Currency               Latest bid   End 2016     Pct Move
  Japan yen              109.79            117.07     +6.63
  Sing dlr               1.3546            1.4490     +6.97
  Taiwan dlr             30.140            32.279     +7.10
  Korean won             1122             1207.70     +7.62
  Baht                   33.200             35.80     +7.83
  Peso                   51.150             49.72     -2.80
  Rupiah                 13342              13470     +0.96
  Rupee                  63.945             67.92     +6.22
  Ringgit                4.269             4.4845     +5.06
  Yuan                   6.584             6.9467     +5.51

 (Reporting By Christina Martin in Bengaluru; Editing by Eric