* Won up on foreign stock, bond buying; central bank ignored
* Rupiah down on importers' dlr demand
* Sing dlr edges up on stop-loss U.S. dlr selling
(Adds text, updates prices)
By Jongwoo Cheon
SINGAPORE, Feb 14 (Reuters) - The South Korean won rose on
foreign inflows, leading slight gains among emerging Asian
currencies on Thursday, while the Indonesian rupiah slid after
the country posted a larger-than-expected current account
The Malaysian ringgit advanced on bids from
interbank speculators and some exporters. The Singapore dollar
edged higher on stop-loss selling of the U.S. dollar.
Still, regional units gave up much of their initial gains as
the yen slid again.
"Firmer risk sentiment helped Asian stocks and currencies,
but investors do not have a strong conviction for a clear
direction yet. They can unwind risk positions any time," said
Jeong My-young, Samsung Futures' research head in Seoul.
"Still, expectations of a weaker yen are pretty strong,
although it (the yen) may not plunge further from here," Jeong
Emerging Asian currencies have been under pressure from a
softer yen as its weakness dented export competitiveness of
Japan's neighbours such as South Korea.
Regional authorities have expressed concerns over the
appreciations of their currencies, a result of policy easing by
major central banks including the Bank of Japan.
Japan's central bank kept monetary policy steady as expected
on Thursday, but the general consensus is that the government
will continue to put pressure on the BOJ to launch more
However, the central bank may prefer to hold off on
expanding stimulus in March and wait until the first rate review
under a new BOJ governor, scheduled for April 3-4, to save its
limited policy options, some analysts say.
Investors are now looking out to a meeting of the Group of
20 finance ministers and central bankers in Moscow on Friday and
Saturday to gauge their possible response to the yen's recent
The won advanced as foreign investors continued to buy South
Korean stocks and bonds. Offshore funds also purchased the
currency, traders said.
Currency investors showed muted reactions to the central
bank's decision to leave interest rates unchanged as expected.
But investors were reluctant to chase the won further as the
A weaker yen hurts South Korean exporters' competitiveness
and earnings. That raises the risk of possible steps to curb the
Technically, the won also has chart resistance between 1,080
per dollar and 1,083.
"Dollar supplies were pretty strong, but I don't think the
won would strengthen past 1,080. It is locked in a range between
1,080 and 1,100," said a senior foreign bank dealer in Seoul.
The rupiah slid on dollar demand from local importers,
bucking the overall strength in its Asian peers.
On Wednesday, the country reported a 2012 current account
deficit equivalent to 2.7 percent of gross domestic product,
wider than an initially forecast 2.4 percent.
Investors stayed cautious over possible dollar-selling
intervention by the central bank to support the rupiah, traders
Bank Indonesia is gradually closing trading loopholes used
by global investors in an attempt to exert more control over its
weakening currency and prevent a desirable depreciation of the
rupiah from turning into a panicky tailspin.
The wider deficit have led some analysts to predict the
rupiah will weaken further to 10,000 per dollar this year.
Still, some dealers and analysts said recent inflows to the
country's stocks and bonds will buffer the downside, adding that
the country's current account balance may improve.
"The current account data is backward looking, so I won't
read too much into it," said a European bank dealer in
"The current account will improve, especially this quarter
onwards, because of a recovery in commodity prices," the dealer
Jakarta stocks hit a record high earlier.
The ringgit gained as interbank speculators bought it, while
some exporters started selling dollars for settlements.
Still, investors hesitated to add bullish positions in the
ringgit further on continued caution over the upcoming election
"Most people prefer to buy the dollar on dips at 3.08. Some
uncertainty over the election will also help long dollar/ringgit
positions," said a senior Malaysian bank trader in Kuala Lumpur.
The Singapore dollar rose against the U.S. dollar on
stop-loss selling of the greenback, traders said.
Some offshore investors also bought the city-state currency
against the euro and the sterling, traders
The Singapore dollar hit 1.9154 to the British currency, its
strongest at least since 1982, according to Thomson Reuters
Sterling fell across the board after the Bank of England
said it was ready to ease policy further despite high inflation.
But some investors took profits from the Singapore dollar's
gains against the greenback around 1.2330-1.2340, traders said.
CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR
Change on the day at 0635 GMT
Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move
Japan yen 93.53 93.27 -0.28
Sing dlr 1.2364 1.2369 +0.04
*Taiwan dlr 29.725 29.750 +0.08
Korean won 1083.70 1086.80 +0.29
Baht 29.80 29.81 +0.03
Peso 40.63 40.67 +0.10
Rupiah 9660.00 9645.00 -0.16
Rupee 53.84 53.82 -0.04
Ringgit 3.0865 3.0905 +0.13
*Yuan 6.2325 6.2325 +0.00
Change so far in 2013
Currency Latest bid End prev year Pct Move
Japan yen 93.53 86.79 -7.21
Sing dlr 1.2364 1.2219 -1.17
Taiwan dlr 29.725 29.136 -1.98
Korean won 1083.70 1070.60 -1.21
Baht 29.80 30.61 +2.72
Peso 40.63 41.05 +1.03
Rupiah 9660.00 9630.00 -0.31
Rupee 53.84 54.99 +2.14
Ringgit 3.0865 3.0580 -0.92
Yuan 6.2325 6.2303 -0.04
* Financial markets in China and Taiwan are closed for holidays.
(Additional reporting by; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
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