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Asian currencies on backfoot on dollar strength; rupiah at 4-year low



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Updates at 0640 GMT

Indonesian rupiah set for over 1% weekly loss

Most Asian currencies headed for weekly losses

Singapore stocks set for worst week since mid-April

Taiwan stocks hit record high

Indonesian stocks fall for fourth straight week

By Adwitiya Srivastava

June 14 (Reuters) - Asian currencies were subdued on Friday pressured by a firm dollar, with the Indonesian rupiah hitting a four-year low even as the local central bank intervened in the foreign exchange market to maintain investor confidence.

The rupiah IDR= fell as much as 0.7% to hit 16,375.00, its lowest level since early April 2020. For the week, it was down more than 1% and has lost 6% year-to-date, making it the second-worst performing currency in the region after the Thai baht.

The rupiah weakness comes a week ahead of the Bank Indonesia's (BI) monetary policy meeting where it is widely expected to keep interest rates unchanged. But with the rupiah under pressure, analysts have not ruled out a rate hike.

"Our base case is for Bank Indonesia to stay on hold, but the risk of a 25 basis point rate hike is relatively high, in our view, especially if the currency comes under renewed pressure," Barclays analysts wrote in a client note.

Indonesia's central bank said on Friday it had intervened in the foreign exchange market to maintain confidence and ensure supply and demand of the rupiah, and thatmonetary policy would be consistent to ensure inflation was under control and the currency was stable.

Elsewhere in Asia, the Bank of Japanannounced that it will start reducing its massive bond purchases in the future, shattering some expectations that it would start the process sooner.

Japanese shares .N225 surged on Friday, outperforming weaker Asian markets, while the yen JPY= fell sharply. .T

The dollar index =USD was steady at 105.33 at 0515 GMT and was up 0.6% for the week so far. USD/

Asian currencies have been pressured by the BOJ not sending as clear a signal about reducing bond purchases as the market expected, said Poon Panichpibool, a markets strategist with Krung Thai Bank.

"It has kind of disappointed the market in the way that added to further weakness in the Japanese yen and drove the U.S. dollar higher," Panichpibool added.

In Asia, most currencieswere on track to end the week lower, if the trend holds, with the Thai baht, South Korean won and the Malaysian ringgit losing between 0.5%and 1%.

Among equities, Taiwanese stocks .TWII rose as much as 0.9% to hit their highest level ever.

Singapore stocks .STI fell 0.5%, set for their worst week since April 19, while those in Jakarta .JKSE declined almost 2%, hitting the lowest level since November 2023, logging its fourth straight week oflosses.


HIGHLIGHTS:

** Thai PM says setting new inflation target range should increase rate cut chance

** Malaysia keeps inflation outlook for 2024 after diesel subsidy reforms

** Philippine c.banksees narrower 2024, 2025 current account deficits

Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0640 GMT

COUNTRY

FX RIC

FX DAILY %

FX YTD %

INDEX

STOCKS DAILY %

STOCKS YTD %

Japan

JPY=

-0.48

-10.59

.N225

0.24

16.60

China

CNY=CFXS

-0.04

-2.17

.SSEC

-0.04

1.78

India

INR=IN

+0.00

-0.40

.NSEI

0.21

7.90

Indonesia

IDR=

-0.67

-5.98

.JKSE

-0.99

-6.99

Malaysia

MYR=

-0.13

-2.57

.KLSE

-0.17

10.50

Philippines

PHP=

+0.19

-5.45

.PSI

-0.21

-1.13

S.Korea

KRW=KFTC

-0.39

-6.62

.KS11

0.13

3.88

Singapore

SGD=

-0.10

-2.43

.STI

-0.52

2.07

Taiwan

TWD=TP

-0.06

-4.99

.TWII

0.86

25.51

Thailand

THB=TH

-0.11

-7.02

.SETI

-0.17

-7.51




Reporting by Adwitiya Srivastava in Bengaluru; Editing by Eileen Soreng

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