* Broad dollar strength weighs on emerging Asian currencies
* Indonesian rupiah leads losses
* RBI seen shifting stance at policy meeting - Reuters poll
(Adds text, updates prices)
By Aditya Soni
Feb 7 (Reuters) - Most emerging Asian units weakened against
a firmer dollar in lacklustre trade on Thursday, with a sharp
overnight jump in oil prices putting pressure on currencies of
major oil importers.
Liquidity was low across the region, with China being closed
for the week-long Lunar New Year celebrations and markets
awaiting fresh developments on the long drawn U.S.-Sino trade
war. U.S. President Donald Trump provided little in the way of
new information in his State of the Union address.
Investor focus now shifts to the next round of trade talks
as U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin travels to Beijing
next week in order to secure a deal before the March 2 deadline.
"We've seen recent re-strengthening of the U.S. dollar over
the last few days and that's helping to reverberate too into
Asian currencies," Khoon Goh, ANZ's Head of Asia Research, said.
"With China out for the whole week and not really providing
much of overall direction, I think we are just seeing Asian
currencies drifting lower giving up some of its strong gains
recorded over the month of January," he added.
The dollar index, which tracks the greenback versus
six major peers, advanced 0.1 percent.
The jump in the dollar, coupled with strength in oil prices
pushed the Indonesian rupiah and Indian rupee
0.5 and 0.1 percent lower, respectively.
Global benchmark Brent crude jumped more than 1
percent overnight before paring some of the gains in Thursday's
Both Indonesia and India have large oil bills and a rise in
oil prices could widen their fiscal deficits.
The South Korean won, which began trading after a
three-day holiday, fell 0.5 percent.
Bucking the trend, the Malaysian ringgit firmed 0.3
Higher oil and palm oil prices could be lending support to
the ringgit, Maybank analysts said in a client note, as the
Southeast Asian nation is an exporter of the commodities.
The Phillipine peso was unchanged ahead of the
central bank policy meeting later in the day.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is expected to leave interest
rates on hold for a second straight meeting, with inflation in
January easing to its slowest in 10 months.
CHANGE IN RBI'S STANCE?
The Reserve Bank of India is slated to hold its policy
meeting later on Thursday, with economists expecting the central
bank to change its stance to 'neutral' and cut interest rates in
June at the latest, according to a Reuters poll.
The change in outlook has come after RBI Governor Urjit
Patel's sudden resignation on Dec. 10.
"We do not see merit in the logic that MPC (Monetary Policy
Committee) should wait in February and ease later, merely for
the sake of acting in step-function," Madhavi Arora, economist
at Edelweiss Securities, said in a client note.
"The opportunity is ripe for RBI to cut amid consistent
inflation undershoots, and ability to make most of the current
global Goldilocks scenario."
The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against
the dollar at 0502 GMT.
CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR
Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move
Japan yen 109.910 109.96 +0.05
Sing dlr 1.356 1.3557 -0.01
Korean won 1124.000 1118.8 -0.46
Baht 31.280 31.23 -0.16
Peso 52.290 52.288 -0.00
Rupiah 13980.000 13917 -0.45
Rupee 71.620 71.55 -0.09
Ringgit 4.078 4.09 +0.29
Change so far in 2019
Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move
Japan yen 109.910 109.56 -0.32
Sing dlr 1.356 1.3627 +0.51
Taiwan dlr 30.745 30.733 -0.04
Korean won 1124.000 1115.70 -0.74
Baht 31.280 32.55 +4.06
Peso 52.290 52.47 +0.34
Rupiah 13980.000 14375 +2.83
Rupee 71.620 69.77 -2.58
Ringgit 4.078 4.1300 +1.28
Yuan 6.734 6.8730 +2.06
(Reporting by Aditya Soni in Bengaluru; Editing by Jacqueline