* Sing dlr near 10-mth low on stop-loss selling, hedge funds
* Rupiah at 3-1/2 mth low; fuel price policy worries intact
(Adds text, updates prices)
By Jongwoo Cheon
SINGAPORE, May 17 (Reuters) - The Singapore dollar hit a
near 10-month low on Friday after soft exports data, and is set
to suffer its worst week in a year - leading weekly declines in
emerging Asian currencies.
The U.S. dollar rose on remarks by a regional Federal
Reserve president envisaging an impending scale-back and then a
an end to bond-buying stimulus measures.
The Singapore currency fell 0.5 percent to 1.2578 to the
U.S. dollar, its weakest since July 25, 2012, on stop-loss
selling and in reaction to data showing non-oil domestic exports
in April barely changed. Hedge funds and speculators drove the
selling, traders said.
April's overseas shipments rose a seasonally adjusted 1.1
percent from the previous month, missing a market forecast of a
2.6 percent gain, although annual performance was slightly
better than expectations.
The Singapore dollar has lost 1.5 percent against the
greenback so far this week, according to Thomson Reuters data.
If it maintains the loss, it would be the largest weekly slide
since the week ended May 18, 2012, the data showed.
"This latest up move in the USD/SGD probably demonstrates
discretionary USD bullishness in the USD/SGD," OCBC Bank said in
"Notably, this move we think may be symptomatic of a broader
willingness by the regional currencies to defer to a strong
dollar and a weak yen," it added.
On Thursday, a regional Fed chief, long seen as a policy
dove, said the U.S. central bank could begin easing up on
stimulus this summer and could end it late this year, driving
the dollar to near a 10-month high against basket of
Recent solid economic data, especially job figures,
increased speculation that the Fed may scale back its asset
buying programme. That cutback could in turn reduce global
liquidity and inflows to emerging Asia.
Most units were on course for a weekly decline.
The Malaysian ringgit has depreciated 1.2 percent
against the dollar so far this week on disappointing first
quarter growth data that spurred investors to take profits.
Last week, the ringgit jumped 1.6 percent, its largest
weekly gain since September last year, after the ruling
coalition's election victory eased worries about political
uncertainty and policy discontinuity.
The South Korean won slid 0.9 percent and the
Taiwan dollar has lost 0.5 percent.
"Asian currencies can fall further on the dollar strength
and possible stabilisation in the exuberance in Asia," said
Saktiandi Supaat, head of FX research for Maybank in Singapore.
Regional currencies may slide even if the Fed does not shift
its easing policy, Supaat said: "As long as the economy remains
like it is and there are small signs of positive data, and the
U.S. stock market rallies, the dollar will also strengthen."
But a strong yuan could limit downside in its regional
peers, he added.
The yuan appreciated after the central bank set an
unexpectedly strong midpoint to signal its intention to let the
Chinese unit appreciate further in the near term.
The Indonesian rupiah eased 0.1 percent to 9,760
per dollar, the weakest since Feb. 1, on dollar demand from
Weaker bonds with a higher three-year government bond yield
also put pressure on the rupiah, although the central
bank was spotted intervening to limit the currency's losses,
The rupiah is expected to stay under pressure from
uncertainty over the country's fuel subsidy policy, analysts
"We are disappointed with the government's continued delay
in hiking fuel prices, which has kept oil imports high and
weighs on the trade balance," ANZ said in a note, adding it
still sees downside risk.
On April 30, Indonesia's president said parliament must
provide compensation next month to the poor before he increases
subsidised fuel prices that are threatening to deepen the fiscal
Some analysts said it may be difficult for the government to
raise fuel prices because of elections next year.
"We believe a fuel price hike is challenging and will not
happen this year, given the political cycle," Barclays said,
although it still sees some possibilities of an increase.
CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR
Change on the day at 0615 GMT
Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move
Japan yen 102.44 102.26 -0.18
Sing dlr 1.2573 1.2519 -0.43
Taiwan dlr 29.961 30.050 +0.30
*Korean won 1116.82 1116.40 -0.04
Baht 29.77 29.74 -0.12
Peso 41.18 41.23 +0.11
Rupiah 9760.00 9747.00 -0.13
Rupee 54.89 54.78 -0.20
Ringgit 3.0200 3.0145 -0.18
Yuan 6.1412 6.1492 +0.13
Change so far in 2013
Currency Latest bid End prev year Pct Move
Japan yen 102.44 86.79 -15.28
Sing dlr 1.2573 1.2219 -2.82
Taiwan dlr 29.961 29.136 -2.75
Korean won 1116.82 1070.60 -4.14
Baht 29.77 30.61 +2.82
Peso 41.18 41.05 -0.32
Rupiah 9760.00 9630.00 -1.33
Rupee 54.89 54.99 +0.19
Ringgit 3.0200 3.0580 +1.26
Yuan 6.1412 6.2303 +1.45
* Financial markets in South Korea were closed for a holiday.
(Additional reporting by Catherine Tan of IFR Markets; Editing
by Eric Meijer)