* Some Asian currencies take breather after last week's
* Technical indicator suggests some Asia FX may be
* Won hits highest since October as local equities gain
(Adds detail, updates prices)
By Patturaja Murugaboopathy
March 21 (Reuters) - Some Asian currencies weakened slightly
on Tuesday as investors looked for fresh cues following the
currencies' big gains last week on the U.S. Federal Reserve's
moderately dovish stance.
There was not much reaction to comments by Chicago Fed
President Charles Evans, who reinforced the perception that the
U.S. central bank would not accelerate the pace of its interest
The Taiwan dollar saw slight gains on the back of
strong equity markets, while the Philippine peso
declined because of a rise in importer dollar demand.
The Thai baht and the Singapore dollar also
traded weaker against the U.S. dollar.
"Markets are hard-pressed to look for new and enduring
themes. And none emerge; at least not compellingly so," Mizhuo
Senior Economist Vishnu Varathan said in a note.
Technical indicators such as the relative strength index
showed that some Asian currencies were near over-bought levels.
Ever since the Fed's interest rate projections released last
week showed that it was sticking to its outlook for a total of
three rate hikes this year, rather than increasing the
projection to four hikes, the won has risen more than 2 percent.
The Taiwan dollar and baht are up more than 1 percent.
"The USD may rebound intermittently as some regional
currencies such as the TWD and THB have been technically
overbought." Qi Gao, FX strategist for Scotiabank in Singapore,
said in a research note.
The reversal in U.S Treasury yields after two days of
declines did not help emerging Asian currencies either. The
10-year U.S. Treasury yield stood at 2.4789 percent
on Tuesday, slightly up from Monday's U.S. close of 2.472. A
steady fall in the U.S Treasury yields drove investors to the
emerging markets last week.
Analysts said Asian currencies were also cautious amid some
Brexit uncertainty, the French presidential election, and next
month's European Central Bank policy meeting.
SOUTH KOREAN WON
The South Korean won rose to 1,114.0 per dollar
at one point, the won's highest level since October 11, 2016.
The won's rise came as domestic equities rose, with the main
index hitting a two-year high on expectations of upbeat
Foreigners have bought a net $2.8 billion of South Korean
equities so far this month, about 10 times their level of
investment in February, the exchange data showed.
The won is Asia's best performer against the dollar this
year, with an 8 percent gain.
CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR
Change on the day at
Currency Latest bid Previous Pct Move
Japan yen 112.720 112.55 -0.15
Sing dlr 1.398 1.3965 -0.14
Taiwan dlr 30.417 30.527 +0.36
Korean won 1120.300 1120.1 -0.02
Baht 34.740 34.71 -0.09
Peso 50.175 50.09 -0.17
Rupiah 13318.000 13312 -0.05
Rupee 65.280 65.36 +0.12
Ringgit 4.427 4.425 -0.05
Yuan 6.899 6.9090 +0.15
Change so far
Currency Latest bid End 2016 Pct Move
Japan yen 112.720 117.07 +3.86
Sing dlr 1.398 1.4490 +3.62
Taiwan dlr 30.417 32.279 +6.12
Korean won 1120.300 1207.70 +7.80
Baht 34.740 35.80 +3.05
Peso 50.175 49.72 -0.91
Rupiah 13318.000 13470 +1.14
Rupee 65.280 67.92 +4.04
Ringgit 4.427 4.4845 +1.30
Yuan 6.899 6.9467 +0.70
(Reporting by Patturaja Murugaboopathy)