EM ASIA FX-Baht near 4-year low, Philippine peso down on year-end dollar bids

Reuters

* Thai baht weighed down by political tensions

* Year-end dollar demand hurts Philippine peso

(Adds text, updates prices)

By Jongwoo Cheon

SEOUL, Dec 26 (Reuters) - The Thai baht hit a near four-year

low on Thursday, pressured by political uncertainty, while most

emerging Asian currencies eased in holiday-thinned trading on

expectations that a solid U.S. economic recovery would allow the

Federal Reserve to gradually withdraw its stimulus.

The baht fell 0.2 percent to 32.81 per dollar, its

weakest since March 2010, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Thai police fired teargas and rubber bullets at

anti-government protesters in the capital Bangkok on Thursday

after demonstrators tried to disrupt planning for a February

election, the first such incident in nearly two

weeks.

Due in part to the impact of the political tensions, the

Thai finance ministry on Thursday trimmed its growth forecasts

for 2013 and 2014.

The baht and the Philippine peso were also under

pressure from year-end dollar demand.

The greenback was broadly higher, touching a five-year high

versus the yen, on expectations that a healthy recovery of

world's top economy will allow the Fed to gradually cut its

bond-buying programme.

"Emerging countries will see more fund outflows as developed

countries, especially the U.S., are seeing better economic

fundamentals," said Yuna Park, a currency and bond analyst at

Dongbu Securities in Seoul.

"There are few reasons to bring money to Asia as assets and

currencies in developed markets are more attractive," Park said.

Emerging Asian currencies were already on the back foot as

the U.S. central bank last week decided to start scaling back

its asset purchase scheme.

BAHT

The baht came under more pressure from year-end dollar

demand from local companies, traders said.

Continuous political tensions are likely to keep weighing on

the baht, but some traders doubted how much further the currency

would weaken from here.

A senior trader at a Thai bank said the baht has been

pricing in the political uncertainty and it may find support

around 33.00 per dollar by the end of the year.

PHILIPPINE PESO

The peso slid on year-end dollar demand from domestic banks

and companies, while local bond yields rose.

Still, remittance inflows limited the Philippine currency's

downside, traders said.

"Unless there is some extreme demand for dollars towards

tomorrow, we should stay below 44.45," said a senior Philippine

bank trader in Manila, referring to the peso's value against the

greenback.

CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR

Change on the day at 0455 GMT

Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move

Japan yen 104.70 104.38 -0.31

Sing dlr 1.2686 1.2671 -0.12

Taiwan dlr 29.998 30.047 +0.16

Korean won 1058.90 1059.30 +0.04

Baht 32.81 32.76 -0.14

Peso 44.43 44.34 -0.20

*Rupiah 12190.00 12190.00 +0.00

Rupee 61.96 61.79 -0.27

Ringgit 3.2945 3.2935 -0.03

Yuan 6.0718 6.0714 -0.01

Change so far in 2013

Currency Latest bid End prev year Pct Move

Japan yen 104.70 86.79 -17.11

Sing dlr 1.2686 1.2219 -3.68

Taiwan dlr 29.998 29.136 -2.87

Korean won 1058.90 1070.60 +1.10

Baht 32.81 30.61 -6.69

Peso 44.43 41.05 -7.61

Rupiah 12190.00 9630.00 -21.00

Rupee 61.96 54.99 -11.24

Ringgit 3.2945 3.0580 -7.18

Yuan 6.0718 6.2303 +2.61

* Financial markets in Indonesia are closed for a holiday.

(Editing by Chris Gallagher)

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