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EM ASIA FX-Most Asian currencies falter as U.S. stands pat on China tariffs

By Niyati Shetty

* Yuan poised to end six-week winning streak * S. Korean cenbank to keep key rates unchanged - poll * Indonesian rupiah slips even as trade deficit narrows in Dec (Adds text, updates prices) By Niyati Shetty Jan 15 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies eased on Wednesday as risk sentiment was curbed ahead of the signing of the Phase 1 Sino-U.S. trade deal after comments from Washington that tariffs would remain in place for now. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin late on Tuesday said that the United States would keep in place its tariffs on Chinese goods until the completion of a second phase trade agreement. The yuan retreated 0.2% to 6.895 a dollar and was set to snap six straight sessions of gains. Markets were reminded of the longer-term structural points of contention in U.S.-China relationship, Maybank analysts said in a note, adding that "euphoria related to the trade deal signing could hence be capped". Meanwhile, China's central bank injected $58 million in loans on Wednesday, as its aims to maintain liquidity in a slowing economy and ease a potential crunch ahead of the Lunar New Year. The trade-sensitive South Korean won slipped as much as 0.6% to 1,162.80 per dollar. A Reuters poll showed that Bank of Korea is likely to keep rates on hold at 1.25% during its policy meeting on Friday, due to signs of economic recovery. However, South Korea's economy has been among the worst-hit by global supply chain disruptions from the trade war and analysts believe that any further uncertainties in its growth outlook could see the central bank cutting rates again this year. Indonesia's rupiah softened 0.3% even as data showed the country's trade deficit narrowed in December, following its largest trade gap in seven months in the prior month. The stable trade figures comes days after the central bank said it would let the rupiah strengthen in line with market movements. The Malaysian ringgit, the Singapore dollar and the Indian rupee edged lower. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0507 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 109.890 109.97 +0.07 Sing dlr 1.347 1.3467 -0.05 Taiwan dlr 29.914 29.942 +0.09 Korean won 1157.800 1156.1 -0.15 Baht 30.270 30.265 -0.02 Peso 50.660 50.66 +0.00 Rupiah 13700.000 13665 -0.26 Rupee 70.933 70.88 -0.07 Ringgit 4.076 4.073 -0.07 Yuan 6.894 6.8845 -0.13 Change so far in 2020 Currency Latest bid End 2019 Pct Move Japan yen 109.890 108.61 -1.16 Sing dlr 1.347 1.3444 -0.22 Taiwan dlr 29.914 30.106 +0.64 Korean won 1157.800 1156.40 -0.12 Baht 30.270 29.91 -1.19 Peso 50.660 50.65 -0.02 Rupiah 13700.000 13880 +1.31 Rupee 70.933 71.38 +0.63 Ringgit 4.076 4.0890 +0.32 Yuan 6.894 6.9632 +1.01 (Reporting by Niyati Shetty in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)