EM ASIA FX-Most Asian units weaken on fresh doubts about U.S.-China trade deal

By Niyati Shetty

* S. Korean won top loser, softens up to 0.7% * Philippine cenbank likely to leave rates on hold - poll * India rupee eases to 2-mth low, Oct CPI awaited (Adds text, updates prices) By Niyati Shetty Nov 13 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies eased on Wednesday as lack of clarity on the prospects for a trade deal between the United States and China dampened risk sentiment. U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday, in a much awaited speech on his administration's economic policies, said Washington and Beijing were "close" to a phase one deal but gave no information on the negotiations. The Chinese yuan softened up to 0.3% to a one-week low of 7.027 per dollar. Further unnerving markets, the president added that he would further raise tariffs on Chinese goods if a deal was not signed. "Considering that much of the optimism surrounding the trade deal has been priced in, this suggests that the upside for Asian currencies appear limited, with potential gains further muted by the dollar's resilience," said Han Tan, market analyst at FXTM. Hopes for an imminent deal has lifted the dollar 1% this week to a one-month high of 98.423 overnight against a basket of currencies. South Korea's won led declines among its Asian peers, easing as much as 0.7% to a near two-week low. The won is the worst performing unit in the region this year, as the tech-exports reliant economy is highly susceptible to developments in the protracted trade spat. Meanwhile, South Korea's top government think-tank on Wednesday called on the central bank to cut interest rates further and slashed its economic growth and inflation forecasts for this and next year. Bank of Korea has trimmed rates twice so far this year to 1.25%, with its next policy meet due at the end of November. Declines in the Philippine peso were limited as the country's central bank looks certain to leave its policy rate unchanged on Thursday after strong growth in the third quarter, a Reuters poll showed. The Malaysian ringgit, the Taiwan dollar and the Indonesian rupiah each eased about 0.2%. SLOWDOWN WOES BITES RUPEE The Indian rupee faltered as much as much 0.4% to a near two-month low, as investors fear that the country's economic slowdown is deep-rooted and interest rate cuts alone may not be enough to revive growth. Data released on Monday showed India's industrial output fell at the fastest pace in over six years in September. Markets now await India's retail inflation data, due later in the day, which has probably exceeded the central bank's medium-term target of 4% in October for the first time in 15-months. Financial markets in India were closed for a holiday on Tuesday. The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0514 GMT. CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen 109.060 109 -0.06 Sing dlr 1.362 1.3619 -0.02 Taiwan dlr 30.471 30.422 -0.16 Korean won 1168.400 1160.8 -0.65 Baht 30.310 30.325 +0.05 Peso 50.850 50.83 -0.04 Rupiah 14075.000 14050 -0.18 Rupee 71.700 71.46 -0.34 Ringgit 4.151 4.141 -0.24 Yuan 7.018 7.0073 -0.16 Change so far in 2019 Currency Latest bid End 2018 Pct Move Japan yen 109.060 109.56 +0.46 Sing dlr 1.362 1.3627 +0.04 Taiwan dlr 30.471 30.733 +0.86 Korean won 1168.400 1115.70 -4.51 Baht 30.310 32.55 +7.39 Peso 50.850 52.47 +3.19 Rupiah 14075.000 14375 +2.13 Rupee 71.700 69.77 -2.69 Ringgit 4.151 4.1300 -0.51 Yuan 7.018 6.8730 -2.07 (Reporting by Niyati Shetty in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)