(Adds text, updates prices) By Aaron Saldanha Nov 24 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies firmed on Friday with the dollar remaining under pressure as it struggled to shake off the Federal Reserve's concerns about low U.S. inflation. The Chinese yuan weakened slightly despite a stronger fix by the central bank with investors there squarely focused on wobbly equities, which sold off heavily on Thursday, and a continuing rout in the bond market. The dollar index which measures the greenback's strength against a basket of six major currencies, is set to end lower for the third straight week. It was last down slightly at 93.135. "With NY (New York) away for Thanksgiving and investors now doubting the Fed trajectory for 2018, expect investors to continue to regard the dollar with suspicion intra-day," wrote Emmanuel Ng of OCBC Bank in a note on Thursday. The dollar skidded on Wednesday after minutes from the Fed's latest policy meeting showed some policymakers fretting over stubbornly weak inflation. That led some to question expectations of hikes in 2018. Some Asian central banks are suspected to to be buying dollars, including in India and Thailand. On Thursday, as the won hovered near 2-1/2-year highs, a South Korean official warned that offshore speculators were "failing to notice the government's willingness to stabilise financial markets." However, the won remained firm for the fourth straight day, up fractionally by 0.04 percent, as investors counted down to the Bank of Korea's monetary policy meeting next week that is widely expected to deliver a rate hike. Similarly, the Taiwanese dollar also strengthened for the fourth consecutive day, gaining 0.06 percent as the benchmark equity index added 0.18 percent to close its biggest winning week since Oct. 13, helped by information technology stocks. Moving in the opposite direction, India's rupee weakened 0.23 percent, making it the region's second biggest loser on the day. India is due to release data on its foreign exchange reserve balance later on Friday. The Singapore dollar was a touch lower by 0.07 percent. Data earlier in the day showed manufacturing output in October grew 14.6 percent, missing expectations of 15.5 percent growth, though that came after the city state on Thursday reported forecast-topping gross domestic product (GDP) growth numbers. MALAYSIAN RINGGIT Malaysia's ringgit weakened 0.29 percent on Friday after gaining for the previous five straight sessions, making it the region's biggest loser. Inflation cooled in October to 3.7 percent, and was below the 4 percent forecast in a Reuters poll. The Malaysian central bank has adopted a hawkish tone in recent times as the country recovers from disappointing growth in 2016 with Bank Negara Malaysia's governor Muhammad Ibrahim saying on Monday that the ringgit was "far from reflecting its fair value". He also said last week that the economy was on track to register growth of 5.2 to 5.7 percent this year and may even exceed that estimate.. CHINESE YUAN The yuan weakened over the course of the day despite the People's Bank of China (PBOC) fixing the midpoint at the strongest in six weeks. The yuan's official midpoint was set at 6.5810 to the dollar, firmer than the previous fix of 6.6021 and the key 6.6 mark. "The fixing was strong because the U.S. dollar had weakened the basket of currencies. The fixing today is simply a reflection of the weakness in the dollar that we have seen overnight," said Khoon Goh, head of Asia research at ANZ. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0505 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Change on the day at 0505 GMT Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 111.44 111.21 -0.21 Sing dlr 1.3459 1.3452 -0.05 Taiwan dlr 29.990 30.007 +0.06 Korean won 1085 1085.4 +0.06 Baht 32.660 32.68 +0.06 Peso 50.725 50.68 -0.09 Rupiah 13510 13511 +0.01 Rupee 64.73 64.58 -0.23 Ringgit 4.117 4.105 -0.29 Yuan 6.588 6.5850 -0.05 Change so far in 2017 Currency Latest bid End 2016 Pct Move Japan yen 111.44 117.07 +5.05 Sing dlr 1.3459 1.4490 +7.66 Taiwan dlr 29.990 32.279 +7.63 Korean won 1085 1207.70 +11.34 Baht 32.660 35.80 +9.61 Peso 50.725 49.72 -1.98 Rupiah 13510 13470 -0.30 Rupee 64.730 67.92 +4.93 Ringgit 4.117 4.4845 +8.93 Yuan 6.588 6.9467 +5.44 (Reporting by Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
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