EMERGING MARKETS-Thai baht headed for worst month in 2 decades, S.Korean won leads Asian FX lower

    * Thai baht at its weakest since July 2017
    * Thailand warns economy remains fragile, exposed to
    * Singapore seen on hold at October review - poll

    By Arundhati Dutta
    Sept 30 (Reuters) - The Thai baht hovered around its weakest
level in more than four years on Thursday and was headed for its
worst month since July 2000 as the U.S. dollar gained on Fed
tapering expectations. 
    The baht, the region's worst performing currency in
2021 with an over 11% drop, was at its weakest since July 2017,
while the greenback was near a one-year on worries that the
Federal Reserve could start hiking interest rates in 2022.

    The index of emerging Asian currencies was
on track for its worst month since March 2020. In emerging Asia,
the South Korean won led regional currencies lower,
weakening up to 0.6% against the greenback.  
    The Bank of Thailand on Wednesday left its policy rate
unchanged and signalled no reduction despite the tourism-reliant
economy being hammered by a COVID-19 outbreak earlier this year,
a move that analysts said would help catch the baht's tumble.

    "Market expectations for rate cuts will stay subdued ahead,
meaning that the bottom in THB rates is likely behind us, "
Duncan Tan and Philip Wee, analysts at DBS wrote in a note. 
    "Long-term THB rates are rising quite quickly and appears to
be at odds with Thailand's weaker recovery prospects. With the
upcoming large FY22 issuance program for loan bonds, upward
pressures on long-term THB rates are likely to intensify ahead."
    The country's central bank chief told a symposium on
Thursday that Thailand's economy remains fragile and has limited
capacity to withstand shocks amid a severe COVID-19 outbreak.

    Analysts polled by Reuters expect Singapore's central bank
to leave monetary policy on hold at its October review as well
as the city-state has seen a surge in new infections in recent
days, making tightening unlikely.
    Most equity markets in the region rose as investors scooped
up cheapened stocks after last two days' China-driven sell-off,
with Indonesia leading the gains with a 1% jump.
    A power supply crunch in China due to demand-supply
imbalance of coal has led to factory shutdowns across the
country, making investors jittery that it may have a knock-on
effect on China-reliant emerging Asian economies. 
    Stocks in Taiwan added 0.4%, after its central bank
said it may benefit from orders being shifted to the island if
China's power curbs lead to the country's exports being
    **Malaysia's 3-year benchmark yield is down 2.6 basis points
at 2.49%​​
    **Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields are up 1.5 basis
points at 6.348%​​ 
  Asia stock indexes and currencies                    
             at 0358 GMT                            
                      DAILY %  YTD %   X    DAILY   YTD %
  Japan                +0.07   -7.72  <.N2  -0.35    7.28
  China    <CNY=CFXS   +0.06   +0.94  <.SS   0.37    2.20
               >                      EC>           
  India                +0.00   -1.46  <.NS   0.04   26.73
 Indonesi              -0.14   -1.89  <.JK   0.91    4.01
    a                                 SE>           
 Malaysia              -0.06   -3.97  <.KL  -0.27   -5.14
 Philippi              +0.07   -5.61  <.PS   0.59   -2.31
   nes                                 I>           
 S.Korea   <KRW=KFTC   -0.23   -8.30  <.KS   0.56    7.10
               >                      11>           
 Singapor              -0.01   -2.93  <.ST   0.43    8.57
    e                                  I>           
  Taiwan               -0.16   +2.22  <.TW   0.29   14.74
 Thailand              -0.12   -11.6  <.SE  -0.03   11.54
                                 0    TI>           
 (Reporting by Arundhati Dutta in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim