U.S. Markets open in 8 hrs 47 mins

EM ASIA FX-Most Asian FX subdued on trade deal caution, baht weakens

* China factory activity shrinks to 3-year low

* Bank of Korea holds key rates

* India Oct-Dec GDP data due later in the day

(Adds text, updates prices)

By Niyati Shetty

Feb 28 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies traded sideways on

Thursday after cautious comments from a top U.S. trade official

spoiled hopes of a speedy end to the protracted U.S.-China trade

dispute, while dismal Chinese factory activity data added to

investor worries.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on

Wednesday it was too early to predict an outcome to the trade

talks adding the United States will need to maintain the threat

of tariffs on Chinese goods for years even if Washington and

Beijing strike a deal to end a costly tariff war.

Leading declines in the region, the Thai baht

weakened about 0.3 percent and was poised for its worst February

since 2009, faltering about 0.9 percent this month.

"Declining attractiveness of local government bonds and

political risk premiums also impart additional negative baggage

for the baht," OCBC Bank said in a note to clients.

Political uncertainty prevails in Thailand with national

elections due on March 24, which could see an end to the

military junta rule.

Further marring risk sentiment in Asia, China's

manufacturing activity contracted to a three-year low in

February as export orders fell at the fastest pace since the

global financial crisis.

The dismal China data reinforces fears that the world's

second-largest economy continues to cool. The official

Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 49.2 in February, pointing to

activity shrinking for a third straight month.

The Indonesian rupiah eased 0.2 percent against the

dollar and was on track to decline 0.7 percent in February,

while the Malaysian ringgit was marginally down.

The Singapore dollar and the South Korean won treaded

water, while the Philippine peso saw marginal gains.

Meanwhile, the Bank of Korea held interest rates steady on

Thursday, as policymakers shifted their focus to supporting the

economy facing increasing pressure from falling exports and

slowing global growth.


The rupee edged up slightly after falling the

previous day on India-Pakistan border tensions.

World powers urged restraint as tensions between the

nuclear-armed neighbours mounted following tit-for-tat air

strikes that downed enemy jets, with Pakistan capturing an

Indian pilot.

Investors also awaited India's GDP data for the

October-December quarter due later in the day.

A Reuters poll showed that India's economy likely grew at

its slowest pace in over a year for the quarter, as weaker rural

incomes and softer urban demand weighed on


The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against

the dollar at 0553 GMT.


Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move

Japan yen 110.840 110.98 +0.13

Sing dlr 1.349 1.3483 -0.02

Korean won 1118.700 1119.1 +0.04

Baht 31.470 31.37 -0.32

Peso 51.690 51.79 +0.19

Rupiah 14055.000 14025 -0.21

Rupee 71.160 71.22 +0.08

Ringgit 4.069 4.064 -0.12

Yuan 6.682 6.6855 +0.06

Change so far in 2019

Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move

Japan yen 110.840 109.56 -1.15

Sing dlr 1.349 1.3627 +1.05

Taiwan dlr 30.775 30.733 -0.14

Korean won 1118.700 1115.70 -0.27

Baht 31.470 32.55 +3.43

Peso 51.690 52.47 +1.51

Rupiah 14055.000 14375 +2.28

Rupee 71.160 69.77 -1.95

Ringgit 4.069 4.1300 +1.50

Yuan 6.682 6.8730 +2.87

(Reporting by Niyati Shetty in Bengaluru

Editing by Jacqueline Wong)