* 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
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
"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.
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.
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
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)