EMERGING MARKETS-Asian FX rise after Fed meeting; Singapore dollar jumps to over 5-yr high

      Singapore dollar touches highest since January 2018

      Philippine peso hits more than seven-month high

      Indonesia's rupiah at more than four-month high

      Fed's Powell remarks boost risk appetite 

    By Upasana Singh
       Feb 2 (Reuters) - The Singapore dollar hit its highest
level in more than five years on Thursday, while currencies
across emerging Asia surged as U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome
Powell's comments on disinflation boosted risk sentiment.
    Singapore's dollar appreciated 0.2% to 1.3038 per
U.S. dollar, its highest since January 2018, and has been on an
upward trajectory this year helped by rising expectations of
easing inflation and less aggressive monetary tightening this
    "The Singapore dollar NEER (nominal effective exchange rate)
has retreated from the top towards the mid-point of (the
Monetary Authority of Singapore's) policy band, a sign that
policy focus may start to shift from inflation towards economic
slowdown," said DBS Bank foreign exchange strategist Philip Wee.
    Among other regional currencies, the Philippine peso
surged 1% to hit its highest since June 20. Indonesia's rupiah
 firmed 0.7%, its highest in more than four months. The
Malaysian ringgit rose 0.6%. 
    South Korea's won appreciated 1% to hit a
10-month high. The Thai baht was up 0.1%. 
    "The Fed, struggling to convince markets of its hawkishness,
may provide further upsides for Asia currencies," analysts at
MUFG Bank said in a client note.
    The Fed raised interest rates by a widely expected 25 basis
points (bps) on Wednesday, with Powell saying a "disinflationary
process has started" - a sign markets interpreted as signalling
the end of its rate-hiking cycle is near. 
    "While Powell did say he doesn't see the Fed cutting rates
this year, the absence of any forceful push-back against market
expectations for rate cuts somewhat lent support to sentiment,"
said OCBC currency strategist Christopher Wong.
    The dollar index, which measures the greenback
against six major peers, fell to a nine-month low of 100.80
following Powell's remarks.
    Meanwhile, South Korea's consumer inflation rate ticked up
in January to a three-month high but, driven mostly by temporary
effects, left investors still confident that the central bank
had ended its cycle of interest rate rises.
    Last month, most of the Bank of Korea's board members were
seen turning cautious about additional rate hikes, though the
board voted that day to raise rates by 25 bps to 3.50%. 
    Stock markets in the region were broadly higher, with
equities in Taipei advancing 0.9% and leading gains.
Indonesia's benchmark index rose 0.4%, while stocks in
Kuala Lumpur inched 0.2% higher.
    Equities in Manila, Singapore and Bangkok
 were outliers in the region, declining between 0.1% and
    ** India's Adani Group will review its capital raising plan
once the market stabilises, after Adani Enterprises Ltd
 withdrew a $2.5 billion share sale citing the need to
insulate investors from potential losses
    ** Technology giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd
and peer SK Hynix Inc are among top gainers on South
Korea's benchmark
    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the U.S. dollar at 0353 GMT.
                      DAILY %  YTD %     X   DAILY   YTD %
 Japan                  +0.29  +1.98  <.N2   0.07    4.97
 China     <CNY=CFXS    +0.44  +2.77  <.SS    0.29    6.64
           >                          EC>           
 India                  +0.12  +1.10  <.NS    0.00   -2.70
 Indonesi               +0.67  +4.67  <.JK    0.42    0.59
 a                                    SE>           
 Malaysia               +0.64  +3.87  <.KL    0.17   -0.50
 Philippi               +0.98  +3.26  <.PS   -0.80    6.29
 nes                                  I>            
 S.Korea   <KRW=KFTC    +0.98  +3.71  <.KS    0.73   10.34
           >                          11>           
 Singapor               +0.17  +2.75  <.ST   -0.43    3.43
 e                                    I>            
 Taiwan                 +0.93  +3.43  <.TW    0.92   10.07
 Thailand               +0.12  +5.64  <.SE   -0.13    0.89
 (Reporting by Upasana Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by
Christopher Cushing)