* Markets await China's response to latest U.S. tariff
* Yuan comes under pressure, spills over to regional peers
* Malaysian c.bank seen standing pat on interest rates
(Adds text, updates prices)
By Nikhil Nainan
July 11 (Reuters) - Asian emerging market currencies
retreated on Wednesday after the United States threatened to
slap tariffs on another $200 billion worth of Chinese imports.
Investors fear the escalating trade war between the world's
two biggest economies could hit global growth after the Trump
administration raised the stakes overnight, announcing fresh
tariffs just days after the last measures took effect on Friday.
China's commerce ministry said it was "shocked" by the
latest U.S. action and would complain to the World Trade
Organisation, but did not immediately say how it would
"Of course, nothing is written in stone, and the tariffs are
not set to take effect until September. But none the less, this
is a very sobering reality check as to just how fragile
sentiment around trade war rhetoric is and should keep markets
trading defensively during Asia," said Stephen Innes, head of
trading APAC at Oanda.
The news prompted a broad based sell-off in Chinese assets,
with the yuan weakenning 0.4 percent to 6.664 to the
dollar while equity markets tumbled around 2 percent.
Investors are worried that the trade row will add pressure
to the already slowing Chinese economy. Trump had warned that he
may ultimately impose tariffs on more than $500 billion worth of
Chinese imports, roughly the total amount of U.S. imports from
China last year.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback
against a basket of six major currencies was up 0.1 percent to
As a major trading partner in the region, "it comes as no
surprise that with fresh selling pressure on the RMB, we are
also seeing some spillovers in the Asian currency space as
well," said Wei Liang Chang, a FX strategist at Mizuho Bank.
He added that currencies that were sensitive to movements in
the yuan, such as the South Korean won, Singapore
dollar and Taiwan dollar, were also under
The won lost the most in the region, falling 0.4 percent,
while the Singapore and Taiwan dollars weakened 0.2 percent
MALAYSIAN C.BANK LIKELY TO HOLD RATES
Malaysian ringgit slipped 0.1 percent to 4.025 per
dollar, hours before Bank Negara Malaysia's policy meeting where
interest rates are expected to remain unchanged.
The meeting marks Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus' first as
governor, with market players watching closely for any clues on
whether she shifts her stance from that of her predecessor.
"The markets will be more focused on forward guidance. Given
the political and fiscal struggles ahead, I think it's easy to
assume this will not be a hawkish pause," Oanda's Innes said.
The ringgit has gained for four straight sessions in the
build up to the meeting and has outperformed its Southeast Asian
peers, amid an exodus from emerging markets as rising trade
tensions have turned investors risk-averse.
CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR
Change on the day at 0533 GMT
Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move
Japan yen 111.060 110.98 -0.07
Sing dlr 1.359 1.3568 -0.17
Taiwan dlr 30.460 30.403 -0.19
Korean won 1120.800 1116 -0.43
Baht 33.260 33.165 -0.29
Peso 53.508 53.431 -0.14
Rupiah 14390.000 14355 -0.24
Rupee 68.850 68.83 -0.04
Ringgit 4.025 4.02 -0.12
Yuan 6.664 6.6405 -0.35
Change so far in 2018
Currency Latest bid End 2017 Pct Move
Japan yen 111.060 112.67 +1.45
Sing dlr 1.359 1.3373 -1.60
Taiwan dlr 30.460 29.848 -2.01
Korean won 1120.800 1070.50 -4.49
Baht 33.260 32.58 -2.04
Peso 53.508 49.977 -6.60
Rupiah 14390.000 13565 -5.73
Rupee 68.850 63.87 -7.23
Ringgit 4.025 4.0440 +0.47
Yuan 6.664 6.5069 -2.36
(Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim