EMERGING MARKETS-Resilient dollar pressures Asian FX as markets eye rate path

      Malaysian ringgit hits lowest since Jan. 19

      Indonesia's rupiah and Philippine peso at more than
two-week low

      Philippine Jan CPI at fresh 14-year high of 8.7%

    By Upasana Singh
       Feb 7 (Reuters) - The Malaysian ringgit led losses among
Asian emerging currencies on Tuesday, as markets weighed hawkish
signals from global central banks and considered the likelihood
of further interest rate hikes. 
    The ringgit, which has gained 2.5% so far this year,
weakened 0.8% to a more than two-week low. Indonesia's rupiah
 fell 0.6% and the Philippine peso slipped 0.4%.
Both currencies hit their lowest since Jan. 20.
    In contrast, Thailand's baht rose 0.5% and the
Singapore dollar inched 0.1% higher. 
    Annual inflation in the Philippines blew past expectations
in January to reach a fresh 14-year high on surging food prices,
raising the chance the central bank will deliver a bigger
interest rate hike to tame prices when it meets next week. 
    "We believe Governor (Felipe M.) Medalla will whip out a
50bp (basis points) rate increase in an attempt to get ahead of
surging inflation," said Nicholas Mapa, senior economist with
    "Medalla previously sounded off on the possibility of
pausing 'as early as the first quarter' but today's inflation
report likely means BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) will need
to stay hawkish in the near term."
    Equities in Manila shed 0.1% on prospects of a larger
rate hike.
    Meanwhile, investors await the U.S. Federal Reserve chief's
speech at the Economic Club of Washington later in the day. 
    "All eyes will be on Fed Chair Jerome Powell's comments
ahead, with the recent strength in the labour market seemingly
opening the door for more hawkishness," said Yeap Jun Rong, a
market analyst at IG.
    "That said, sticking to his script at the recent Federal
Open Market Committee meeting with not too many surprises could
see risk sentiments recover, in line with the upward bias
presented from the broader trend."
    The dollar index, which hit a near one-month high of
103.76 on Monday, slipped 0.1% to 103.47 as of 0335 GMT.
    Equities across Southeast Asia were largely subdued, with
stocks in Jakarta rising 0.8% and Seoul shares
up 0.6%. Stocks in Kuala Lumpur declined 0.6% and
Singapore's benchmark index eased 0.1%. 
    ** Indonesia will suspend some palm oil export permits to
secure domestic supply amid rising cooking oil prices ahead of
upcoming Islamic festivals
    ** Japan confirmed that it made record interventions in the
foreign exchange market in October, selling the dollar worth
6.35 trillion yen ($48 billion) to support the yen
    The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0335 GMT.
                      DAILY %  YTD %     X   DAILY   YTD %
 Japan                  +0.26  -0.90  <.N2   0.22    6.36
 China     <CNY=CFXS    +0.24  +1.73  <.SS    0.21    5.06
           >                          EC>           
 India                  +0.06  +0.06  <.NS    0.00   -1.88
 Indonesi               -0.59  +2.81  <.JK    0.75    1.09
 a                                    SE>           
 Malaysia               -0.84  +2.52  <.KL   -0.59   -0.93
 Philippi               -0.37  +1.87  <.PS   -0.13    5.51
 nes                                  I>            
 S.Korea   <KRW=KFTC    -0.18  +0.76  <.KS    0.60    9.68
           >                          11>           
 Singapor               +0.09  +1.02  <.ST   -0.07    4.06
 e                                    I>            
 Taiwan                 -0.17  +2.24  <.TW    0.04    8.93
 Thailand               +0.54  +3.04  <.SE    0.24    1.04
 (Reporting by Upasana Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Jacqueline