US jobs data caution hurts emerging Asian currencies

US jobs data caution hurts emerging Asian currencies

SINGAPORE - Most emerging Asian currencies eased on Friday in thin trading with the Thai baht and the Philippine peso at three-month lows as investors stayed cautious before a key US jobs data for clues on when the Federal Reserve starts cutting its stimulus.

The baht lost 0.2 per cent to 32.34 per dollar, its weakest since September 6 on sustained concerns over political tensions.

Anti-government protesters stayed off the street on Friday but clashes were reported overnight, one at the occupied Finance Ministry.

The peso fell as much as 0.4 per cent to 44.00 to the greenback, its weakest since September 10. Traders covered short dollar positions to the peso as some expected stronger US non-farm payrolls due later in the day.

US employers are estimated to have created 180,000 jobs in November, following 204,000 in October, a Reuters poll of analysts showed.

Malaysia's ringgit turned weaker on similar position adjustments and after the October trade surplus missed market expectations.

For the week, most emerging Asian currencies reported small gains, led by the Indian rupee.

The rupee has gained 1.2 per cent against the dollar so far this week as exit polls predicted a strong showing for the key opposition party, which is perceived as being more business-friendly and willing to undertake reforms, in recent state elections. National elections will be held in early 2014.

China's yuan has risen 0.2 per cent and the Singapore dollar has been up 0.1 per cent. The South Korean won and the Taiwan dollar edged higher.

But the baht has lost 0.7 per cent and the peso has fallen 0.5 per cent.

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