* Intervention stems Taiwan dlr; 29.8/US dlr may be capped
* S.Korean won down on importers, intervention caution
(Adds text, updates prices)
By Jongwoo Cheon
SEOUL, May 22 (Reuters) - Most emerging Asian currencies
were steady on Wednesday ahead of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben
Bernanke's congressional testimony, though the Taiwan dollar
rose on demand from exporters and foreign financial institutions
while the South Korean won slid.
Investors waited to see whether Bernanke suggests the U.S.
central bank taper its policy easing, although two senior Fed
officials hinted that it will continue the bond-buying
The Fed's possible exit from its easing is a hot topic, said
Credit Agricole CIB's senior strategist Frances Cheung in Hong
Kong. "Our core scenario remains no announcement of a tapering
of the asset-purchase programme," she said.
If Bernanke indicates a policy shift, the dollar will rise
against almost everything including emerging Asian currencies,
as the market does not appear to be ready for that yet, Cheung
Among regional units, currencies that have benefited from
bond inflows, such as the Thai baht, could be more
vulnerable to the Fed's move, she added.
The baht has been the best performing Asian currency in
2013, appreciating 2.9 percent against the dollar, according to
Thomson Reuters data.
Solid recent U.S. data has increased speculation that the
Fed may scale back its stimulus sooner rather than later. Such a
move would global liquidity and inflows to emerging Asian
countries, analysts and traders have said.
But on Tuesday, two regional Fed presidents played down the
chances that the central bank would signal a readiness to reduce
its bond-buying at its June 18-19 meeting.
Taiwanese exporters and foreign financial institutions
lifted the Taiwan dollar as much as 0.6 percent to 29.776 to the
The island's unit found further support from a strong yuan
But the central bank was spotted intervening to limit the
Taiwan dollar's strength, traders said.
Investors hesitated to chase the unit, especially when it
was firmer than 29.800 as authorities on Tuesday were spotted
actively buying the greenback there, traders added.
Local importers bought the U.S. dollar for payments around
The won slid on dollar demand from local importers and as
investors stayed cautious over possible intervention by the
foreign exchange authorities, given the yen's weakness.
Investors hesitated to buy the South Korean currency before
Bernanke's testimony, although foreign investors bought Seoul
shares for a fourth consecutive session, traders said.
"Some investors still wanted to buy the won, but they took a
breather at its current levels," said a senior foreign bank
trader in Seoul.
CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR
Change on the day at 0756 GMT
Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move
Japan yen 102.80 102.48 -0.31
Sing dlr 1.2585 1.2597 +0.10
Taiwan dlr 29.807 29.942 +0.45
Korean won 1113.05 1110.60 -0.22
Baht 29.72 29.79 +0.24
Peso 41.18 41.17 -0.01
Rupiah 9763.00 9760.00 -0.03
Rupee 55.41 55.41 -0.00
Ringgit 3.0160 3.0185 +0.08
Yuan 6.1316 6.1356 +0.07
Change so far in 2013
Currency Latest bid End prev year Pct Move
Japan yen 102.80 86.79 -15.57
Sing dlr 1.2585 1.2219 -2.91
Taiwan dlr 29.807 29.136 -2.25
Korean won 1113.05 1070.60 -3.81
Baht 29.72 30.61 +2.99
Peso 41.18 41.05 -0.30
Rupiah 9763.00 9630.00 -1.36
Rupee 55.41 54.99 -0.76
Ringgit 3.0160 3.0580 +1.39
Yuan 6.1316 6.2303 +1.61
(Additional reporting by Jeanny Kao in TAIPEI; Editing by