S.Korean won leads declines in Asia FX as Fed hawks heighten growth worries
* China's yuan hits lowest in nearly 2 yrs
* BI expected to maintain rates on Tuesday
* S.Korea's won at over 13-yr low
By Upasana Singh
Aug 22 (Reuters) - China's yuan CNY=CFXS eased 0.1% to its weakest in almost two years after the central bank cut its benchmark lending rate and mortgage reference rate on Monday, while Indonesia's rupiah fell on expectations that rates there would stay at record lows.
The general weakness in Asian currencies was cast against broad strength in the greenback as the dollar index =USD struck a two week high after another Federal Reserve official flagged the likelihood of continued aggressive monetary tightening ahead of the central bank's key Jackson Hole symposium this week.
Comments on Friday by Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin about the "urge" among central bankers being towards faster, front-loaded rate increases heightened worries over global growth.
Leading losses among emerging Asian currencies, South Korea's won KRW=KFTC slipped 1% to a more than 13-year low, reflecting concerns about the export-focused economy.
While most central banks have been tightening monetary policy to counter inflationary pressures, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) bucked the trend by lowering interest rates to bolster an economy hit by COVID-19 and an ailing property sector.
Maybank analysts expect the PBOC to remain in easing mode as long as the economy is under pressure.
But Goldman Sachs analysts reckoned the Chinese central bank would be cautious.
"Due to rising food prices and potential spillover effects from developed markets' monetary policy tightening, the PBOC might not be in a rush to deliver more interest rate cuts in our view," they said in a note.
Bank Indonesia (BI), one of the few central banks in the region that has yet to begin tightening monetary policy, is expected to leave its benchmark rate unchanged at a record low when it meets on Tuesday, according to a Reuters poll.
The rupiah IDR= weakened 0.2% to 14,890 per dollar at around 0442 GMT, its weakest in two weeks.
The Philippine peso PHP= weakened 0.2% and hit its lowest in nearly a month, while Malaysia's ringgit MYR= and Thailand's baht THB=TH depreciated 0.1% and 0.5%, respectively.
Singapore's dollar SGD= fell 0.1%. The country's core and headline inflation figures, scheduled to release on Tuesday, will help gauge the central bank's future stance on policy.
While stocks in China gained 0.6% on rate cut there, other share markets in the region slipped. Indonesia's .JKSE main index declined 1.1% and Philippines .PSI fell 1.6%.
** Thailand's post-pandemic economy will be in a slow but steady recovery - FinMin
** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields rise 16.9 points to 7.263%
The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0442 GMT. COUNTRY
INDEX STOC STOCKS
DAILY YTD %
Y % Japan
-0.15 -16.0 <.N225 #VAL #VALUE!
<CNY=CFX -0.12 -6.89 <.SSEC 0.57 -9.98
INR=IN -0.07 -6.89 <.NSEI -0.8 1.51
-0.22 -4.16 <.JKSE -1.1 7.76
-0.13 -7.05 <.KLSE -0.7 -4.79
-0.21 -9.04 .PSI -1.5 -5.14
<KRW=KFT -0.98 -11.2 <.KS11 -1.1 -17.28
-0.09 -3.12 .STI 0.60 4.56 Taiwan
TWD=TP -0.22 -7.96 <.TWII -0.9 -16.21
THB=TH -0.46 -7.06 <.SETI 0.00 -1.91
Reporting by Upasana Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore