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Asian FX steady, shares tick higher ahead of Fed, Thai rate decisions



<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"><head><title>EMERGING MARKETS-Asian FX steady, shares tick higher ahead of Fed, Thai rate decisions</title></head><body>

U.S. CPI and Fed decision awaited

Bank of Thailand seen holding interest rate - Reuters poll

Indonesian stocks lowest since Nov. 2023

By Adwitiya Srivastava

June 12 (Reuters) -Asian currencies held steady on Wednesday, while most equities notched modest gains ahead of a key U.S. inflation data as well as monetary policy decisions by the Federal Reserve and the Bank of Thailand.

The South Korean won KRW=KFTC and the Malaysian ringgit MYR= inched up, while the Singaporean dollar SGD=, the Taiwanese dollar TWD=TP, and the Chinese yuan CNY=CFXS barely moved against the greenback.

In Thailand, the baht THB=TH and equities .SETI were steady ahead of the central bank's monetary policy decision in a few hours time. A poll of 27 economists by Reuters showed the Bank of Thailand (BoT) would leave its key interest rate unchanged.

"The BoT will likely remain steadfastly on hold despite continued political pressure to cut rates," analysts at Barclays wrote in a note.

"While there are media reports that the government may be trying to increase its influence on the bank through the post of the BoT board chair – which becomes vacant in September – we note that the chair does not sit on the monetary policy committee."

Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin on multiple occasions earlier has called for rate cuts, citing the need to boost Southeast Asia's second-largest economy, and is hoping for a rate cut later in the day.

Meanwhile, investors widely expect the Fed to stand pat on its key interest rate later in the day. Market is now pricing in an around 52% chance of a rate cut in September, down from around 61% a month ago, according to CME FedWatch tool.

Asian central banks have been on wait-and-see mode, as sticky inflation and tight labour market in the U.S. keep shifting expectations on when the Fed will cut rates and by how much.

"Asia FX could face volatility from a potential upward shift in the Fed's median dot plot, which could push U.S. yields and the dollar higher," analysts at MUFG said.

They added that low-yielding currencies such as the South Korean won, Thai baht, and Malaysian ringgit could be vulnerable.

Elsewhere in Southeast Asia, stocks in Jakarta .JKSE fell as much as 0.5% to hit their lowest level since mid-November, while rupiah IDR= ticked lower, flirting with a psychologically crucial level of 16,300 per dollar.

Stocks in Kuala Lumpur .KLSE were up 0.2%, while Taiwanese stocks .TWII ascended almost 0.8%.

Financial markets in the Philippines .PSI, PHP= were closed on Wednesday for the Independence Day holiday.


HIGHLIGHTS:

** Bank Indonesia to use all monetary instruments to stabilise rupiah

** Philippine c.bank wants inflation firmly settled near target midpoint

** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields largely flat at 7.022%

Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0320 GMT

COUNTRY

FX RIC

FX DAILY %

FX YTD %

INDEX

STOCKS DAILY %

STOCKS YTD %

Japan

JPY=

-0.08

-10.26

.N225

-0.79

16.64

China

CNY=CFXS

+0.01

-2.15

.SSEC

0.05

1.84

India

INR=IN

0.00

-0.43

.NSEI

0.00

7.06

Indonesia

IDR=

-0.03

-5.49

.JKSE

-0.11

-5.84

Malaysia

MYR=

+0.06

-2.63

.KLSE

0.23

11.04

Philippines

PHP=

-

-5.64

.PSI

-

-0.62

S.Korea

KRW=KFTC

+0.12

-6.44

.KS11

0.35

2.24

Singapore

SGD=

+0.02

-2.46

.STI

0.16

2.29

Taiwan

TWD=TP

+0.03

-5.09

.TWII

0.79

22.49

Thailand

THB=TH

-0.05

-6.98

.SETI

0.10

-6.95




Reporting by Adwitiya Srivastava in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich

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