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Indian rupee, rupiah, Thai baht fall as oil prices surge


Reuters


By Aby Jose Koilparambil

July 22 (Reuters) - Most Asian emerging currencies fell on Monday as the U.S. dollar held steady, while heightened tensions in the Middle East pushed oil prices higher.

The dollar index was barely changed at 97.171 after gaining 0.35% last week, but the greenback broke above 108 yen to hit its highest since Wednesday, still in the middle of the 107-109 range where it has traded for a month.

Brent crude futures were up 51 cents, or 0.8%, at$62.98 a barrel by 0042 GMT after a British tanker was seized by the Iranian military at the end of last week. O/R

Any rise in oil prices puts pressure on major importers of the commodity in the region such as India, Indonesia and Thailand.

The dollar would hold the upper hand in Asia this week and the "jittery risk environment" surrounding Iran tensions could further impinge on the Asian currencies, OCBC Bank analysts said in a note on Monday.

The Indian rupee fell as much as 0.4% to a near three-week low, while the Indonesian rupiah slid as much as 0.3% to 13,965 against the dollar.

The Thai baht lost up to 0.3%. The currency was little fazed by trade data which showed June exports fell 2.15% year-on-year, smaller than the Reuters poll forecast of 5% drop.

Exports, the main driver of Thai growth, declined for a fourth straight month in June.

The South Korean won also depreciated, shedding up to 0.4% to 1,179.10 against the dollar, as the export-oriented economy's shipments for the first 20 days of the month fell a sharp 13.6% from a year earlier, according to customs data.

Semiconductor products, which make up for about one-fifth of the country's total exports, suffered a 30.2% drop in overseas shipments, the Korea Customs Service data showed.

Meanwhile, the Chinese yuan inched up 0.06% on investor hopes that Sino-U.S. trade tensions may be easing.

Some Chinese companies are seeking new purchases of U.S. agricultural products, China's official Xinhua news agency said on Sunday, citing authorities, and investors widely take these kind of developments as gestures of goodwill between the world's two largest economies to end the year-long trade war.

The Malaysian ringgit and the Philippine peso were little changed.

CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR

Change on the day at 0508 GMT

Currency

Latest bid

Previous day

Pct Move

Japan yen

107.970

107.7

-0.25

Sing dlr

1.361

1.3600

-0.08

Taiwan dlr

31.075

31.050

-0.08

Korean won

1177.500

1174.5

-0.25

Baht

30.850

30.77

-0.26

Peso

51.120

51.09

-0.06

Rupiah

13960.000

13930

-0.21

Rupee

68.990

68.80

-0.27

Ringgit

4.112

4.112

+0.00

Yuan

6.879

6.8810

+0.03

Change so far in 2019

Currency

Latest bid

End 2018

Pct Move

Japan yen

107.970

109.56

+1.47

Sing dlr

1.361

1.3627

+0.12

Taiwan dlr

31.075

30.733

-1.10

Korean won

1177.500

1115.70

-5.25

Baht

30.850

32.55

+5.51

Peso

51.120

52.47

+2.64

Rupiah

13960.000

14375

+2.97

Rupee

68.990

69.77

+1.13

Ringgit

4.112

4.1300

+0.44

Yuan

6.879

6.8730

-0.09









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