Singapore Markets close in 3 hrs 23 mins

EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies helped by Sino-U.S trade optimism; rupiah tops gainers

(Adds text, updates prices)

By Aby Jose Koilparambil

Jan. 10 (Reuters) - Asian currencies rose slightly on

Thursday as the dollar remained shaky on expectations the U.S.

Federal Reserve will soon pause its tightening cycle, while

renewed optimism over a Sino-U.S. trade deal lifted appetite for

riskier assets.

Minutes from the Fed's policy meeting last month showed that

several policymakers did not feel the need to rush into further

rate increases in the face of global growth concerns.

In other developments, China's commerce ministry said trade

talks between the world's top two economies this week were

extensive, and helped establish a foundation for the resolution

of each others' concerns.

Vishnu Varathan, a senior economist at Mizuho Bank, said in

a note on Thursday that investors in Asian currencies are likely

to remain patient as they followed the progress of the Sino-U.S.

trade talks.

The Indonesian rupiah extended its positive start

to the year, gaining as much as 0.7 percent in the session for

around a 2.5 percent rise so far in 2019.

The Malaysian ringgit was another highlight on the day, up

0.5 percent to 4.093 against the dollar, its highest level in

more than four months.

The Korean won also rose 0.5 percent while the

Thai baht added 0.4 percent to touch a seven-month

peak.

CHINESE YUAN

The Chinese yuan strengthened as much as 0.5

percent for its best levels since July 2018 in breaching the key

6.8 per dollar level, despite data showing the nation's producer

prices in December rose at their slowest pace since September

2016.

"The yuan will be supported by both a likely promise by

China to shrink the bilateral trade imbalance, and also the

expansion of domestic Chinese demand on account of expansionary

fiscal and monetary policy easing," said Julian Wee, a

Singapore-based Investment Strategist at Credit Suisse.

INDIAN RUPEE

The Indian rupee shed 0.2 percent as the currency

of the world's sixth largest economy felt the pressure from

rising oil prices and domestic political factors.

The rupee, the worst regional performer in 2018, has

depreciated about a percent so far this year to lead decliners

among its peers.

"The rupee is expected to come under pressure as crude

prices are rising. The upcoming federal budget is expected to be

populist after the ruling party's defeat in the state elections

last month. This might put pressure on the fiscal arithmetic,"

said Rushabh Maru, research analyst at Anand Rathi Shares and

Stock Brokers.

The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against

the dollar at 0536 GMT.

CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR

Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move

Japan yen 107.900 108.16 +0.24

Sing dlr 1.351 1.3533 +0.17

Taiwan dlr 30.763 30.801 +0.12

Korean won 1118.400 1122.1 +0.33

Baht 31.910 32.01 +0.31

Peso 52.150 52.2 +0.10

Rupiah 14045.000 14120 +0.53

Rupee 70.580 70.46 -0.17

Ringgit 4.095 4.113 +0.44

Yuan 6.792 6.8175 +0.38

Change so far in 2019

Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move

Japan yen 107.900 109.56 +1.54

Sing dlr 1.351 1.3627 +0.87

Taiwan dlr 30.763 30.733 -0.10

Korean won 1118.400 1115.70 -0.24

Baht 31.910 32.55 +2.01

Peso 52.150 52.47 +0.61

Rupiah 14045.000 14375 +2.35

Rupee 70.580 69.77 -1.15

Ringgit 4.095 4.1300 +0.85

Yuan 6.792 6.8730 +1.19

(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil and Nikhil Nainan in

Bengaluru

Editing by Shri Navaratnam)