January 17, 2019 / 5:30 AM / 8 months ago

EM ASIA FX-Most Asian units inch down on China growth, global trade worries

    * Indonesian central bank rate decision due later in day
    * Singapore Dec exports -8.5 pct y/y, worst decline since
Oct 2016

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Niyati Shetty
    Jan 17 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies edged down on
Thursday, reflecting uncertainty over China's economic growth
outlook and reminders of discord in Sino-U.S relations. 
    China's central bank said on Thursday it would make another
big cash injection through open market operations, after a
record net liquidity injection of $83 billion a day earlier,
seeking to avoid a cash crunch ahead of a long holiday period. 

    Earlier this week, poor Chinese trade data prompted
officials to signal further supportive measures to shore up
growth in the world's second largest economy. 
    The Chinese yuan faltered as much as 0.2 percent
against the greenback. 
    In a move that might have added to risk-off sentiment, U.S.
lawmakers introduced bipartisan bills on Wednesday that would
ban the sale of U.S. chips or other components to Huawei
Technologies Co Ltd          and other Chinese telecom companies
that violate U.S. sanctions.
    Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday
that U.S. prosecutors are investigating Huawei for allegedly
stealing trade secrets and could soon issue an indictment.

    Among Asian currencies, the Indonesian rupiah led
declines, softening as much as 0.4 percent as the market awaited
a central bank rate decision expected after 0700 GMT. 
    On Wednesday, Bank Indonesia Governor Perry Warjiyo said he
considers its benchmark interest rate to be "near its peak" but
will maintain the central bank's "pre-emptive and ahead of the
curve" approach.
    Mizuho Bank, in a note on Thursday, said it expects a rate
hold "against a backdrop of receding tail risks and
corresponding macro stability vulnerabilities". 
    Between May and November, central bank raised rates six
times. All 20 analysts in a Reuters poll expect no change on
    Also softening against the dollar on Thursday were the
Korean won and the Philippine peso.

    The Singapore dollar was modestly lower on Thursday
as the city-state's exports had their biggest decline in more
than two years in December. 
    The trade-reliant country saw a fall of 8.5 percent in
non-oil domestic exports (NODX), as electronic and
pharmaceutical shipments plunged.
    The bleak data is in line with dismal export data from other
Asian economies including China, South Korea, Taiwan,
Philippines and Indonesia. 
    OCBC Bank said it expected Singapore's export growth to
continue to disappoint this year "barring any rapid turnaround
in US-China trade talks and a firm resolution to the contentious
issues between US and China." 
    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0432 GMT.
 Currency               Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen              109.030     109.08        +0.05
 Sing dlr               1.357       1.3549        -0.14
 Taiwan dlr             30.833      30.831        -0.01
 Korean won             1121.700    1120.1        -0.14
 Baht                   31.670      31.6975       +0.09
 Peso                   52.240      52.165        -0.14
 Rupiah                 14160.000   14115         -0.32
 Rupee                  71.275      71.24         -0.05
 Ringgit                4.111       4.108         -0.07
 Yuan                   6.767       6.7580        -0.13
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Currency               Latest bid  End 2018      Pct Move
 Japan yen              109.030     109.56        +0.49
 Sing dlr               1.357       1.3627        +0.43
 Taiwan dlr             30.833      30.733        -0.32
 Korean won             1121.700    1115.70       -0.53
 Baht                   31.670      32.55         +2.78
 Peso                   52.240      52.47         +0.44
 Rupiah                 14160.000   14375         +1.52
 Rupee                  71.275      69.77         -2.11
 Ringgit                4.111       4.1300        +0.46
 Yuan                   6.767       6.8730        +1.57

 (Reporting by Niyati Shetty in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard
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