Philippine peso trades higher after rate hike, other Asian FX slip



* Philippine cenbank hikes rate by 50 bps

* Indonesian rupiah, Thai baht at 1-week lows

* Asian currencies weaken on broad dollar strength

By Sameer Manekar

Aug 18 (Reuters) - The Philippine peso gained marginally on Thursday after the central bank raised its interest rate by a widely expected half-point in its battle to combat inflation, while most other Asian currencies were subdued on broad dollar strength.

The peso PHP= strengthened up to 0.3% after the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) hiked its benchmark rate by 50 basis points, its fourth increase this year.

The hike comes as the economy faces a double whammy of slowing economic growth and soaring inflation, with the peso's sharp drop in June and July, down more than 5%, also raising chances of a bigger rate increase.

Amid broadening price pressures, ING senior economist Nicholas Mapa said, "BSP can carry out 25-bp rate increases at each of the remaining policy meetings for the balance of the year."

The peso is among the worst performing currencies in the region, depreciating more than 8% so far this year on the dollar's strength as the Fed continues with its aggressive policy tightening.

"We expect a depreciation bias for the peso in the near-term as the import season kicks into high gear," Mapa said.

Meanwhile, most other Asian currencies were pressured by a stronger dollar on Thursday after U.S. Federal Reserve minutes indicated the central bank was committed to raising rates as high as necessary to tame inflation.

The dollar index =USD , which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was trading higher at 106.86, rising more than 1% so far in the week on certainty that interest rates would remain higher to contain runaway inflation.

IG Group market strategist Yeap Jun Rong said the minutes acknowledged the risks to economic activity from too much tightening, "which suggests a more measured tightening approach could be taken with some eyes on growth conditions".

The South Korean won KRW=KFTC weakened as much as 0.8%, its lowest since July 18, while the Indonesian rupiah IDR= slipped 0.5% to touch its weakest in a week.

The Thai baht THB=TH fell 0.7% to its lowest in more than a weak, while the Indian rupee INR=IN , China's yuan CNY=CFXS , and the Singapore dollar SGD= were down about 0.3% each.

Indonesian shares .JKSE advanced 0.5%, while Singapore .STI added 0.3%. Philippine stocks .PSI closed marginally higher before the policy decision, while most other markets were largely unchanged.

HIGHLIGHTS:

** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields fall marginally to 7.052%

** Thailand to see faster GDP growth in Q3 as investment, tourism return - finmin

** Philippines plans first retail bond issue under Marcos administration

** Sri Lanka c.bank holds rates steady; expects inflation to ease

Asia stock

indexes and

currencies

at 0741 GMT

COUNTRY

FX

FX

FX

INDEX

STOCKS

STOCKS

RIC

DAILY %

YTD %

DAILY

YTD %

%

Japan

JPY=

-0.24

-14.97

.N225 z0.96

0.52 China

CNY=CFXS -0.20

-6.46

.SSEC -0.46

-9.95 India

INR=IN

-0.26

-6.69

.NSEI -0.31

3.08 Indonesia

IDR=

-0.51

-3.98

.JKSE 0.58

9.02 Malaysia

MYR=

-0.13

-6.89

.KLSE -0.08

-1.34 Philippines

PHP=

+0.18

-8.72

.PSI

0.08

-4.18 S.Korea

KRW=KFTC -0.79

-10.00

.KS11 -0.33

-15.77 Singapore

SGD=

-0.21

-2.51

.STI

0.32

4.79 Taiwan

TWD=TP

-0.10

-7.78

.TWII -0.44

-15.49 Thailand

THB=TH

-0.69

-6.46

.SETI -0.34

-1.41


Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Upasana Singh; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

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