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EM ASIA FX-Most Asian units pull back after strong rally; dismal trade data pressures ringgit

Shriya Ramakrishnan
·3-min read

* Asia FX markets pause to lock in gains - analyst * Malaysia's April exports plunge 24% * Thai c.bank to discuss baht with exporters, FX traders (Adds text, updates prices) By Shriya Ramakrishnan June 4 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies retreated on Thursday as a recent rally fuelled by hopes of an economic rebound ran out of steam and investors locked in profits, while dismal export readings pressured the Malaysian ringgit. Asian currencies have rallied this week as the reopening of several global economies has reduced the allure of the greenback and encouraged investors to venture into risky assets. "We have seen some signs of U.S. and China discord again trickling in to warrant caution, although I do see this mostly as an excuse for the locking in of some gains by the market," Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at IG Asia said. Leading declines in the region, the Malaysian ringgit slipped 0.4%, marking its worst daily performance in more than a week. Data earlier in the day showed the country's exports tumbled 23.8% in April from a year earlier, the steepest fall in a decade, as the COVID-19 pandemic badly disrupted the global supply chain. The South Korean won was marginally lower, while the Singapore dollar and Philippine peso weakened 0.2% each. The Chinese yuan eased slightly in onshore trade, pressured by renewed tensions between the world's two largest economies. U.S. President Donald Trump's administration on Wednesday barred Chinese passenger carriers from flying to the United States, while it is also expected to designate at least four additional state-run Chinese media outlets as foreign embassies. The Indonesian rupiah eased 0.2% to 14,110 per dollar, erasing some of its stellar gains in the past two sessions driven by strong demand for its government bonds. CONCERNS OVER BAHT STRENGTH BACK IN FOCUS The Thai baht weakened as much as 0.4% to 31.66 per dollar during the session on resuming trade after a holiday. Minutes from Bank of Thailand's meeting on Thursday showed that Thailand's economy will contract more than expected this year, while it also expressed concern the baht could strengthen and hurt economic recovery. The central bank is expected to meet with exporters and foreign exchange dealers later in the day to discuss the rapid rise in the currency. "Previous steps taken to curb baht strength have proven to be temporary, and any new measures that they may contemplate will likely be the same," Khoon Goh, head of Asia research at ANZ said. "The baht's overall fundamentals point to longer term strength, though its current account surplus for this year will be reduced given the absence of international tourism. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Change on the day at 0515 GMT Currency Latest bid Previous Pct day Move Japan yen 109.090 108.89 -0.18 Sing dlr 1.400 1.3975 -0.21 Taiwan dlr 29.890 29.905 +0.05 Korean won 1217.400 1216.8 -0.05 Baht 31.570 31.55 -0.06 Peso 49.935 49.85 -0.17 Rupiah 14100.000 14050 -0.35 Rupee 75.480 75.46 -0.03 Ringgit 4.274 4.255 -0.44 Yuan 7.125 7.1166 -0.11 Change so far in 2020 Currency Latest bid End 2019 Pct Move Japan yen 109.090 108.61 -0.44 Sing dlr 1.400 1.3444 -4.00 Taiwan dlr 29.890 30.106 +0.72 Korean won 1217.400 1156.40 -5.01 Baht 31.570 29.91 -5.26 Peso 49.935 50.65 +1.43 Rupiah 14100.000 13880 -1.56 Rupee 75.480 71.38 -5.43 Ringgit 4.274 4.0890 -4.33 Yuan 7.125 6.9632 -2.26 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)