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EM ASIA FX-Most Asian currencies stronger on trade talks optimism, stimulus

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Patturaja  Murugaboopathy 
    Feb 18 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies strengthened
against the dollar on Monday on renewed hopes of progress in
U.S.-China trade talks and optimism that regional economies will
get a boost from central bank stimulus measures.
    The United States and China resume talks in Washington this
week after they reported progress in five days of negotiations
in Beijing. U.S. President Donald Trump has said he may extend a
March 1 deadline for reaching a deal.
    "The market had certainly been cheering the signs," said
Jingyi Pan, a Singapore-based market strategist at trading and
investments provider IG. 
    "Despite the lack of details post meeting, there is a
growing sense that a 60-day extension to the March 1 deadline
for further tariffs implementation could help to ease through
the difficulty in reaching common ground on contentious issues
such as intellectual property and technology transfers," he
    The Indonesian rupiah led regional gainers on the
day, followed by the South Korean won and China's
    The Thai baht rose 0.2 percent after its economy
grew at its best pace in six years in 2018, with the
fourth-quarter beating expectations on higher domestic demand
and record tourism arrivals.
    Bucking the trend, the Indian rupee shed 0.27
percent on worries over India's trade deficit and higher crude
oil prices. 
    Regional assets were also helped by expectations that major
central banks will start to unwind their monetary tightening
policies this year. The sustained rise in U.S. interest rates
last year undermined Asian currencies and triggered portfolio
outflows from the region. 
    "Over the first six weeks of 2019, U.S. equities have seen a
drawdown of $43.6 billion. During the same period, EM Asia has
received $17.1 billion in equities and $3.3 billion in bond fund
flows," DBS Bank said in a report.
    Minutes of the Federal Reserve's last policy meeting are due
on Wednesday and should provide more guidance on the likelihood
of a rate hike this year. 
    The Singapore dollar rose 0.1 percent against the
dollar, despite exports from the city state stumbling more than
expected in January. 
    Singapore's non-oil domestic exports (NODX) fell 10.1
percent in January from a year earlier, data from the trade
agency Enterprise Singapore showed, which was worse than a 1.6
percent decline predicted by a Reuters poll.
    Last week, Singapore posted its slowest economic growth in
more than two years in the fourth quarter and its trade ministry
warned that manufacturing is likely to face significant
moderation this year.
     "The government's budget due out later today will likely
need to incorporate some offsetting measures to stimulate the
domestic economy in the face of mounting external weakness." ING
said in a note.
    The Indonesian rupiah rose 0.39 percent on Monday
after posting its biggest weekly fall in more than two months in
the last week. 
    Indonesia's trade deficit could deteriorate further due to a
rise in crude oil prices, analysts said. The country is one
Asia's biggest oil importers. 
    The country's trade deficit swelled in January as exports
fell sharper than expected, although imports contracted for the
first time in 19 months, data from the statistics bureau showed
on Friday.
    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0519 GMT.
  Change on the day at                           
        0519 GMT                           
  Currency               Latest  Previous     Pct
                            bid       day    Move
  Japan yen             110.520    110.48   -0.04
  Sing dlr              1.356      1.3565   +0.05
  Taiwan dlr            30.818     30.850   +0.10
  Korean won            1124.70    1128.7   +0.36
  Baht                  31.200      31.26   +0.19
  Peso                  52.350       52.3   -0.10
  Rupiah                14085.0     14140   +0.39
  Rupee                 71.475      71.22   -0.36
  Ringgit               4.078       4.083   +0.12
  Yuan                  6.756      6.7750   +0.28
  Change so far in                               
  Currency              Latest   End 2018     Pct
                        bid                  Move
  Japan yen             110.520    109.56   -0.87
  Sing dlr              1.356      1.3627   +0.51
  Taiwan dlr            30.818     30.733   -0.28
  Korean won            1124.70   1115.70   -0.80
  Baht                  31.200      32.55   +4.33
  Peso                  52.350      52.47   +0.23
  Rupiah                14085.0     14375   +2.06
  Rupee                 71.475      69.77   -2.39
  Ringgit               4.078      4.1300   +1.28
  Yuan                  6.756      6.8730   +1.73
 (Reporting By Patturaja  Murugaboopathy; editing by Darren