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EM ASIA FX-S.Korea's won stumbles, trade war doubts weigh on region

By Niyati Shetty

* S.Korean won slips 0.6%, Oct exports fall most in 4 years * Malaysia cenbank to hold key interest rate next week - poll * Chinese yuan set to gain for 4th straight week (Adds text, updates prices) By Niyati Shetty Nov 1 (Reuters) - South Korea's won eased in subdued trade on Friday, as fresh uncertainties over a Sino-U.S. trade deal weighed on regional currencies amid more evidence of a slowdown in manufacturing. Factory activity in Asia shrank further in October on cooling global demand, highlighting the broadening pain the Sino-U.S. trade war is inflicting on manufacturers. "The broader picture is still one of doubts over the potential bottoming of the Asian cycle," said Chang Wei Liang, macro strategist (FX and credit) at DBS Bank. "Markets are taking a bit of a breather in the meanwhile to assess the incoming data." The won weakened as much as 0.6% to 1,170.90 per dollar, marking its worst trading session in three weeks, but was on track to firm for a fifth straight week. South Korea's manufacturing activity contracted for a sixth straight month in October but at a slightly slower pace, a private survey showed on Friday. Also weighing on the currency, South Korea's exports fell for an 11th straight month in October and by the most in nearly four years as shipments to China kept slowing and computer chip prices plunged, government data showed. The Indonesian rupiah slipped after a private survey showed the country's factory activity in October contracted further, with a purchasing manager's index hitting a four-year low. The Indian rupee and the Taiwan dollar were little changed, while the Singapore dollar and the Thai baht inched up. The Malaysian ringgit added 0.2% as factory activity hit a six-month high, but was still in contraction territory. The country's central bank is expected to keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a policy review next week, according to a Reuters poll, saving its policy ammunition in case global growth falters next year. The Philippine financial market was closed for a holiday. In offshore trade, the peso firmed 0.3%. TRADE DEAL DOUBTS The Chinese yuan weakened marginally to 7.043 per dollar due to renewed uncertainty over whether Beijing and Washington can reach a deal to end their protracted trade war. Optimism was dampened by a Bloomberg report on Thursday which cited unnamed sources as saying Chinese officials have doubts about whether a comprehensive long-term deal is possible between Beijing and Washington. However, declines in the currency were curbed after a private business survey on Friday showed China's factory activity unexpectedly expanded at the fastest pace in well over two years in October. Onshore yuan is set for a fourth consecutive week of gains. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0612 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 107.980 108.02 +0.04 Sing dlr 1.358 1.3602 +0.17 Taiwan dlr 30.468 30.462 -0.02 Korean won 1166.600 1163.4 -0.27 Baht 30.160 30.18 +0.07 Peso 50.630 50.76 +0.26 Rupiah 14050.000 14032 -0.13 Rupee 70.910 70.92 +0.01 Ringgit 4.170 4.1775 +0.18 Yuan 7.043 7.0401 -0.05 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 107.980 109.56 +1.46 Sing dlr 1.358 1.3627 +0.35 Taiwan dlr 30.468 30.733 +0.87 Korean won 1166.600 1115.70 -4.36 Baht 30.160 32.55 +7.92 Peso 50.630 52.47 +3.63 Rupiah 14050.000 14375 +2.31 Rupee 70.910 69.77 -1.61 Ringgit 4.170 4.1300 -0.96 Yuan 7.043 6.8730 -2.42 (Reporting by Niyati Shetty in Bengaluru; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)