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EM ASIA FX-Asian currencies edgy as Hong Kong tensions rekindle trade deal concerns

By Shriya Ramakrishnan

* S. Korean won, rupee lead declines * China's onshore yuan flat * Philippine peso bucks trend with 0.2% rise (Adds text, updates prices) By Shriya Ramakrishnan Nov 28 (Reuters) - Most emerging Asian currencies trod water on Thursday, amid fears that efforts to end the U.S.-China trade war could suffer as Beijing threatened "counter measures" after U.S. President Donald Trump signed legislation backing protesters in Hong Kong. "All eyes will be on what kind of responses China would muster, and whether it would derail the trade negotiations," analysts at OCBC Bank in Singapore said in a note. Export-focused South Korean won, among the most vulnerable to developments on the trade front, depreciated 0.2% to its weakest level against the dollar in nearly a month. Focus will now turn to a Bank of Korea policy meeting on Friday, when it is widely expected to stand pat, a Reuters poll showed. Meanwhile, a separate poll showed another month of double-digit contraction for South Korea's exports in November. China's onshore yuan was largely flat against the dollar, despite a firmer fixing by the central bank. The Singapore dollar and Malaysian ringgit eased 0.1% each, while the Thai baht was flat. Thailand's central bank governor on Thursday expressed concern about the rapid strengthening of the baht, and said the central bank has steadily taken action to prevent the currency from rising too fast. Governor Veerathai Santiprabhob said that while there were no clear measures yet, the central bank may consider allowing more non-banks to compete in the market. The Philippine peso was among the few outliers, strengthening 0.2% after two days of declines. INDIAN RUPEE The Indian rupee weakened 0.2% on the day, ahead of the release of July-September economic growth figures on Friday. Two television channels reported on Wednesday, citing government sources, the growth would slow to around 4.0%. The Indian economy expanded 5.0% in the April-June quarter, which was more than a six-year low. "Banking and real estate sectors need to improve for INR outlook to improve meaningfully. In the short term, inflows and those hunting for yields could still keep INR supported," Christopher Wong, senior FX Strategist at Maybank Singapore said. A Reuters poll expects the Indian economy to expand 4.7% in the second quarter, and the Reserve Bank of India to cut interest rates in December for a sixth time this year, though it may only have a limited impact on the economy. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Change on the day at 0540 GMT Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 109.430 109.55 +0.11 Sing dlr 1.366 1.3649 -0.06 Taiwan dlr 30.501 30.515 +0.05 Korean won 1179.700 1177.2 -0.21 Baht 30.233 30.233 +0.00 Peso 50.740 50.86 +0.24 Rupiah 14095.000 14090 -0.04 Rupee 71.500 71.35 -0.21 Ringgit 4.172 4.17 -0.05 Yuan 7.027 7.0279 +0.01 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 109.430 109.56 +0.12 Sing dlr 1.366 1.3627 -0.22 Taiwan dlr 30.501 30.733 +0.76 Korean won 1179.700 1115.70 -5.43 Baht 30.233 32.55 +7.67 Peso 50.740 52.47 +3.41 Rupiah 14095.000 14375 +1.99 Rupee 71.500 69.77 -2.42 Ringgit 4.172 4.1300 -1.01 Yuan 7.027 6.8730 -2.20 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)