(Adds text, updates prices)
SEOUL, May 23 (Reuters) - Most emerging Asian currencies on
Thursday fell as a weak China manufacturing survey increased
concerns over the world's No.2 economy, adding to pressure on
regional units generated by prospects of reduced inflows if the
Federal Reserve scales back its stimulus.
The South Korean won slid 0.6 percent to 1,120.8
per dollar as of 0220 GMT, leading losses among emerging Asian
currencies. China is South Korea's top export market.
The Philippine peso fell 0.5 percent, while the
Thai baht and the Malaysian ringgit lost 0.4
Their depreciation came after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said
on Wednesday that if economic improvement continued, the Fed
could "in the next few meetings take a step down" in its
purchases and warned that holding interest rates too low for too
long has its risks.
In addition, the flash HSBC Purchasing Managers' Index for
May also fell to 49.6, slipping under the 50-point level
demarcating expansion from contraction for the first since
October. The final HSBC PMI stood at 50.4 in April.
"For Asian currencies, the days of the cheap dollar are
definitely over and further downside is expected for Asia
ex-Japan currencies," said Suresh Kumar Ramanathan, head of
regional interest rate and FX strategy at CIMB Investment Bank
in Kuala Lumpur.
"We will see weakness in these currencies picking up
momentum in June and July when summer is in full swing. Sell in
May, walk away for summer is here to stay," he added.
Most emerging Asian currencies have been weakening this year
as solid U.S. data boosted speculation that the Fed may scale
back its bond-buying programme sooner rather than later.
Such a policy shift may reduce global liquidity and inflows
to emerging Asian countries as it will cut yield differentials,
traders and analysts have said.
CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR
Change on the day at 0220 GMT
Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move
Japan yen 103.19 103.04 -0.15
Sing dlr 1.2666 1.2664 -0.02
Taiwan dlr 29.944 29.960 +0.05
Korean won 1120.80 1114.00 -0.61
Baht 29.90 29.79 -0.37
Peso 41.38 41.18 -0.48
Rupiah 9770.00 9763.00 -0.07
Rupee 55.46 55.46 +0.00
Ringgit 3.0325 3.0215 -0.36
Yuan 6.1352 6.1311 -0.07
Change so far in 2013
Currency Latest bid End prev year Pct Move
Japan yen 103.19 86.79 -15.89
Sing dlr 1.2666 1.2219 -3.53
Taiwan dlr 29.944 29.136 -2.70
Korean won 1120.80 1070.60 -4.48
Baht 29.90 30.61 +2.37
Peso 41.38 41.05 -0.79
Rupiah 9770.00 9630.00 -1.43
Rupee 55.46 54.99 -0.85
Ringgit 3.0325 3.0580 +0.84
Yuan 6.1352 6.2303 +1.55
(Reporting by Jongwoo Cheon; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)