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EM ASIA FX-Most currencies tick higher on Sino-U.S. trade deal optimism

    * China sets yuan midpoint at strongest in 4-1/2
    * Singapore factory output unexpectedly falls in November
    * Philippine peso top gainer in region with 0.3% rise 

 (Adds text, updates prices)
    By Shreya Mariam Job
    Dec 26 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies firmed in year-end
trade on Thursday as comments from China boosted expectations of
Washington and Beijing signing a trade deal early in the new
    The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Wednesday said their
economic and trade teams were in close communication about
detailed arrangements for the Phase 1 deal's signing and other
follow-up work.
    On Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump said he and Chinese
President Xi Jinping would have a signing ceremony to sign the
deal agreed to this month. 
    Beijing has not yet confirmed specific components of the
deal that were released by U.S. officials, but a spokesman for
China's Commerce Ministry said last week the details would be
made public after the official signing.
    The Chinese yuan, however, weakened 0.1% after
Wednesday's strong gains. The central bank lifted its official
midpoint prior to the market open, breaching a key threshold.
    The Philippine peso firmed the most in the region,
strengthening 0.3%.
    The South Korean won and the Taiwan dollar
 strengthened 0.2% and 0.3%, respectively. Trade in 
these export-oriented countries have taken a hit from the
prolonged tariff dispute between the world's top two economies.
Thereby, easing tensions between Washington and Beijing
supported the two currencies.     
    The Indonesian rupiah slipped as markets resumed
trading after a two-day break, with a rise in crude oil prices
weighing on the currency. 
    The Singapore dollar traded largely flat, with data
showing November industrial output unexpectedly fell 9.3% from a
year earlier because of steep declines in electronics and
pharmaceutical production.  
    "The wording of the deal and its impact on reducing broader
global trade uncertainties especially related to the electronics
sector will be crucial factors that determine whether the story
for Singapore's manufacturing sector will materially change,"
Mizuho said in a note. 

    The People's Bank of China set the official yuan midpoint
rate at 6.9801 per dollar, the strongest in over
4-1/2 months, to reflect strong gains made a day earlier. 
    Supported by year-end corporate dollar selling, the onshore
spot yuan strengthened against the dollar in holiday-thinned
trade on Wednesday, rising past the key seven-per-dollar level.
 Change on the day at   0444 GMT                  
 Currency               Latest bid  Previous day  Pct Move
 Japan yen              109.540     109.35        -0.17
 Sing dlr               1.355       1.3546        -0.01
 Taiwan dlr             30.110      30.203        +0.31
 Korean won             1161.200    1163.9        +0.23
 Baht                   30.155      30.22         +0.22
 Peso                   50.660      50.82         +0.32
 Rupiah                 13970.000   13960         -0.07
 Rupee                  71.255      71.27         +0.01
 Ringgit                4.134       4.135         +0.02
 Yuan                   6.994       6.9890        -0.07
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Currency               Latest bid  End 2018      Pct Move
 Japan yen              109.540     109.56        +0.02
 Sing dlr               1.355       1.3627        +0.59
 Taiwan dlr             30.110      30.733        +2.07
 Korean won             1161.200    1115.70       -3.92
 Baht                   30.155      32.55         +7.94
 Peso                   50.660      52.47         +3.57
 Rupiah                 13970.000   14375         +2.90
 Rupee                  71.255      69.77         -2.08
 Ringgit                4.134       4.1300        -0.10
 Yuan                   6.994       6.8730        -1.73
 (Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by
Subhranshu Sahu)