* Indonesia central bank holds interest rate steady * Singapore dollar climbs to a more than two-year high * Thai baht hits its strongest level since late May 2013 By Shriya Ramakrishnan Dec 17 (Reuters) - Asian currencies gained ground on Thursday with the Thai baht surging to a seven-year peak as investors bet that a rebuke from Washington on Thailand's currency practices may prompt the central bank not to suppress an appreciation in baht. The baht strengthened 0.4% and breached the psychological 30 per dollar mark that Thai exporters had urged the central bank to preserve last week to keep them competitive.
* Thai baht hits strongest level since late May, 2013 * Indonesia, Philippines cenbanks expected to hold fire * S. Korea cuts growth outlook By Shriya Ramakrishnan Dec 17 (Reuters) - The Thai baht jumped to a more than seven-year high and breached a major resistance level on Thursday, as investors bet the country's inclusion on a U.S. currency watch list might weaken the central bank's determination to slow the currency's gains. The baht firmed 0.6% to 29.83 per U.S. dollar. Thai exporters last week had called on the central bank to ensure the baht did not appreciate beyond the 30 per dollar mark, which is critical to keep them globally competitive.
* Indonesian markets closed for a holiday * Baht backs down from 30.0 per dollar mark * Malaysia's Public Bank announces bonus share issue By Anushka Trivedi Dec 9 (Reuters) - The Thai baht reversed early gains to trade flat on Wednesday afternoon, with traders saying the central bank appeared to have intervened to limit the currency's appreciation, which it has repeatedly said is negative for the economy. The baht firmed by up to 0.2% at 29.990 in early trade, slipping below the 30.0 per dollar mark that Thai exporters on Tuesday urged the central bank to preserve to maintain competitiveness. It retreated in afternoon trade to stand marginally weaker at 30.060 per dollar, with traders at two local banks saying the central bank had stepped in to sell dollars.