By Shriya Ramakrishnan
April 3 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies fell on Friday and were on course to record weekly losses, as investors latched on to the safety of the U.S. dollar due to the worsening economic impact from the coronavirus pandemic.
While governments and central banks have stepped in with stimulus measures, enforced lockdowns and flooded markets with liquidity, risk appetite remains subdued due to a continued rise in cases of the flu-like illness.
Data on Thursday showed global coronavirus cases surpassed one million with more than 52,000 deaths, while weekly jobless claims shot to a record high of more than 6 million last week in the United States.
The South Korean won KRW=KFTC and Singapore dollar dipped 0.2% each, and were on track to record a weekly loss of 1.7% and 0.4%, respectively.
The Malaysian ringgit MYR= pared early gains to trade flat as oil prices reversed course following their biggest one-day gains in the previous session. O/R
Fluctuations in crude prices had an impact on the ringgit, as Malaysia is a net exporter of the commodity.
The Indonesian rupiah IDR=ID was little changed, while the onshore Chinese yuan CNY=CFXS dropped up to 0.2%, led by the central bank's weakest guidance since the 2008 global financial crisis. CNY/
Indonesia's foreign exchange reserves dropped by some $9 billion in March, as Bank Indonesia intensified market intervention to manage the depreciation in the rupiah amid capital outflows.
Meanwhile, the Philippine peso PHP= gained 0.2% and was set to be the top performer in the region this week with a weekly gain of 1%.
"The Philippines has relatively more monetary policy space, both conventional and non-conventional, compared to some of its regional peers, while still boasting of positive real interest rates," Han Tan, a market analyst at FXTM said.
"Having adequate buffers, both on the monetary and fiscal sides, can shore up investor confidence that policymakers are able to mitigate some of the negative impact of COVID-19."
Financial markets in Taiwan were closed for a holiday.
The Indian rupee INR=IN slipped as much as 0.7% to 76.085 against the dollar, two days after resuming trade.
A 21-day nationwide lockdown to curb coronavirus from spreading has raised fears of a damaging impact on the already-slowing economy.
Foreigners sold $8.13 billion worth of Indian bonds in March, the biggest monthly outflow since at least Jan. 2002.
A Reuters poll also showed that the rupee will probably cut some of its losses in the next year, but it's likely to stay weak along with other emerging-market currencies until the coronavirus pandemic subsides.
CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR
Change on the day at 0633 GMT
Change so far in 2020
(Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Gaurav Dogra; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)
((Shriya.Ramakrishnan@thomsonreuters.com; +91 8061822842 ;))
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