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EM ASIA FX-Most currencies firm; Thai baht at near 3-1/2-year high

* Most Asian currencies firm on weaker U.S. dollar

* Dollar falls on reports of China slowing U.S. debt buys

* Malaysian ringgit and Thai baht gain most among peers

(Adds text, updates prices)

By Aditya Soni

Jan 11 (Reuters) - Most emerging Asian currencies firmed

slightly on Thursday, as the U.S. dollar lost steam overnight

after a report that China was ready to slow or halt its U.S.

Treasury purchases, pushing up yields.

Chinese officials reviewing the country's vast foreign

exchange holdings have suggested slowing or halting purchases of

U.S. Treasuries, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday.

The report sent U.S. Treasury yields to 10-month

highs and the dollar lower.

Earlier this week, the greenback was dented by the Bank of

Japan's announcement that it would buy less of the long-dated

bonds, triggering speculation that the central bank may wind

back its monetary stimulus this year.

However, gains in regional currencies on Thursday were

capped by a fall in global sentiment, as investors reassessed

risk levels and Asian shares fell due to concerns over rising

U.S. trade protectionism.

"AXJs (Asia ex-Japan currencies) are mostly higher as USD

remains rattled on UST (U.S. Treasuries) concerns," Saktiandi

Supaat, an analyst at Maybank, wrote in a research report.

"Risk-off sentiments this morning, which is sparking a

sell-off in equities, could weigh on the Asian currencies and

limit upside intraday."

The Thai baht strengthened 0.3 percent to a near

three-and-a-half year high, while the Indonesian rupiah

firmed slightly.

On the other hand, the Chinese yuan weakened 0.1 percent.

Data on Wednesday showed producer prices in the world's second

largest economy rose at their slowest pace in 13 months in

December.

"China inflation data was a bit damp, and that has given

traders cause for thought," said Stephen Innes, head of trading

Asia-Pacific at Oanda.

MALAYSIAN RINGGIT

The ringgit firmed the most among regional currencies

after data showed factory output in November beat analyst

estimates, boosted by gains in all three major sectors.

Malaysia's industrial production in November rose

5 percent from a year earlier, up from 3.4 percent growth in

October.

The ringgit was also supported by higher oil prices as

energy exports contribute significantly to Malaysia's gross

domestic product.

INDIAN RUPEE

While higher oil prices were a boon for the ringgit, they

put pressure on the rupee as India is Asia's second-largest oil

importer after China. The rupee fell 0.2 percent on Thursday,

with oil prices holding near three-year highs.

A rise in oil prices could widen the country's current

account deficit.

"High oil prices give potential for a fiscal slippage and

higher inflation, as crude imports for India remain large," said

Supaat.

The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against

the dollar on Thursday.

CURRENCIES VS U.S.


DOLLAR

Change on the day at 0522 GMT

Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move

Japan yen 111.760 111.42 -0.30

Sing dlr 1.333 1.3340 +0.07

Taiwan dlr 29.601 29.601 +0.00

Korean won 1071.400 1071.9 +0.05

Baht 32.020 32.11 +0.28

Peso 50.385 50.38 -0.01

Rupiah 13415.000 13434 +0.14

Rupee 63.743 63.59 -0.24

Ringgit 3.987 4.002 +0.38

Yuan 6.516 6.5071 -0.14

Change so far

Currency Latest bid End 2017 Pct Move

Japan yen 111.760 112.67 +0.81

Sing dlr 1.333 1.3373 +0.32

Taiwan dlr 29.601 29.848 +0.83

Korean won 1071.400 1070.50 -0.08

Baht 32.020 32.58 +1.75

Peso 50.385 49.93 -0.90

Rupiah 13415.000 13565 +1.12

Rupee 63.743 63.87 +0.20

Ringgit 3.987 4.0440 +1.43

Yuan 6.516 6.5069 -0.15

(Reporting by Aditya Soni in Bengaluru; Editing by Jacqueline

Wong)