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EM ASIA FX-Malaysian ringgit reverses losses, Indonesia's rupiah slips

* Ringgit pares losses after sharp fall

* Rupee inches up ahead of inflation data

* Rupiah slips, eyes on central bank meet later in week

(Adds text, updates prices)

By Nikhil Nainan

May 14 (Reuters) - The Malaysian ringgit pared losses after

falling to its lowest in over a year on Monday following last

week's shock election upset, while most other Asian currencies

gained on the dollar.

The ringgit fell as much as 0.9 percent as Malaysian

markets reopened for the first time since Wednesday's general

election, but clawed its way back and was up marginally at 3.946

per dollar by midday.

Veteran politician Mahathir Mohamad came out of retirement

to lead the opposition to victory over a ruling party he had

once led, defeating prime minister Najib Razak Najib.

On Saturday, Mahathir appointed Lim Guan Eng as finance

minister, best known as the chief minister of Penang, the second

richest state in the country, a move seen by many as investor


Mizuho Bank, in a note, said the appointment is expected to

"underscore market confidence", alluding to his achievements in


Some investors were concerned over the populist economic

policies of the new government, including plans to remove a

goods and service tax. But some analysts thought the moves could

boost domestic demand.

The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies

edged lower at 92.537 0530 GMT.

South Korea's won gained 0.2 percent, as

sustained progress with North Korea soothed markets.

Over the weekend, North Korea said it would dismantle its

nuclear bomb test site, a move that prompted the U.S. to propose

lifting sanctions on the reclusive state.

North Korea's overtures come ahead of Kim Jong Un's meeting

with U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore on June 12.

The Thai baht strengthened to 31.83 against the

dollar, ahead of the country's central bank meet to decide the

1-day repo rate on Wednesday.

"We see no change for the upcoming policy meeting, given

that Thailand's underlying inflation has been undershooting

target," Mizuho Bank said.


The rupee edged higher as investors awaited

inflation data expected later on Monday, and a day ahead of

results from the elections in the southern state of Karnataka.

Exit polls suggest Narendra Modi's BJP could emerge as the

leading party ahead of next year's general election.

Inflation is expected to climb in April on the back of

higher oil prices, intensifying pressure on the Reserve Bank of

India (RBI) to hike rates, a Reuters poll showed.

DBS in a note said it expects a more hawkish RBI, "with more

committee members expected to shift from the neutral to the

cautious camp."

"India's consumer price index could remain sticky at around

4.5 percent year-on-year, but a downside surprise should be

Indian rupee positive, given that markets are fretting over a

hawkish RBI," Mizuho Bank added.

India, a net oil importer, has been particularly watchful

over rising oil prices and developments on Iran.


Indonesia's rupiah slipped 0.3 percent to 13,985 a

dollar following several bomb attacks across the


"Yesterday's terrorist bombings in Surabaya churches may

rattle the market," said Trimegah Securities in Jakarta, though

"expect any decline because of bombing to be very short-term."

With the rupiah hovering around 2018 lows, Moody's said the

weakness in the currency and interest rates would be "credit

negative" if it persists.

Moody's comments come ahead of a central bank policy review

later in the week. Some analysts say they would not be surprised

to see an interest rate hike to support the currency, though

others believe such a move may already be priced in.

"The Indonesian rupiah may outperform if Bank Indonesia

hikes rates by 25bps as we expect, giving teeth to their defence

against further rupiah depreciation," added Mizuho Bank in a



Change on the day at 0528 GMT

Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move

Japan yen 109.410 109.38 -0.03

Sing dlr 1.333 1.3360 +0.25

Taiwan dlr 29.719 29.773 +0.18

Korean won 1067.100 1069.3 +0.21

Baht 31.830 31.9 +0.22

Rupiah 13985.000 13945 -0.29

Rupee 67.283 67.33 +0.06

Ringgit 3.946 3.948 +0.05

Yuan 6.340 6.3323 -0.12

Change so far in 2018

Currency Latest bid End 2017 Pct Move

Japan yen 109.410 112.67 +2.98

Sing dlr 1.333 1.3373 +0.35

Taiwan dlr 29.719 29.848 +0.43

Korean won 1067.100 1070.50 +0.32

Baht 31.830 32.58 +2.36

Rupiah 13985.000 13565 -3.00

Rupee 67.283 63.87 -5.07

Ringgit 3.946 4.0440 +2.48

Yuan 6.340 6.5069 +2.63

(Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim