Thai baht, yuan lead losses among Asian currencies ahead of Fed conference

Thai baht, yuan lead losses among Asian currencies ahead of Fed conference

* Asian currencies subdued

* Thai baht, China's yuan top decliners

* Focus on Jackson Hole symposium later this week

By Upasana Singh

Aug 24 (Reuters) - Most Asian currencies were weaker on Wednesday, with losses concentrated in the Chinese yuan and Thai baht, as investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of likely hawkish posturing by the U.S. Federal Reserve at a symposium in Jackson Hole this week.

Neel Kashkari, president of the Minneapolis Fed, was the latest to join a chorus of central bank officials sounding alarm over sky-rocketing prices, thus underscoring the Fed's singular focus on controlling inflation.

The greenback was steady, though below recent peaks, putting local currencies on the back foot. The declines in the region were led by the yuan CNY=CFXS , which was down 0.4% at 0511 GMT.

The yuan has fallen more than 1.3% against the dollar since the People's Bank of China surprised markets on Aug. 15 by lowering two key interest rates at a time when major central banks worldwide are tightening policy.

The yuan is being pressured by China's gloomy economic outlook after a slew of bearish data earlier this month, said Poon Panichpibool, markets strategist at Krung Thai Bank.

"Until we see any positive data from China, we are not going to see any reversal in the yuan anytime soon," Panichpibool added.

The Thai baht THB=TH weakened 0.3%, while equities in Bangkok .SETI shed 0.2%. Analysts said much of the recent weakness in the baht could be pinned to a dovish central bank which has been reluctant to hit the gas on tightening.

"The THB weakened as the BoT sounded dovish," said Frances Cheung, rates strategist at OCBC after the country's rate committee noted on Wednesday that gradual rate hikes were consistent with growth and inflation.

Bank of Thailand (BOT), a laggard in the region, raised its key interest rate by 25 basis points for the first time in nearly four years earlier this month.

Among other Southeast Asian currencies, South Korea's won KRW=KFTC rose 0.3%, while Malaysia ringgit MYR= and Philippine peso PHP= was flat.

In stock markets, equities in Beijing .SSEC and Kuala Lumpur .KLSE led losses in the region, dropping 1.4% and 0.7%, respectively.

Philippine's benchmark index .PSI rose 0.7%, while equities in Singapore .STI and Indonesia .JKSE were flat.

HIGHLIGHTS:

** S.Korea President Yoon says volatility increasing in FX market

** Indonesia's energy subsidies could rise by $13 bln without fuel price hike -CNBC Indonesia, citing finmin

** Indonesia's benchmark 10-year yields fall 7 points to 7.086%

The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0511 GMT. COUNTRY FX RIC

FX

FX INDE STOCKS STOCKS

DAILY % YTD %

X DAILY YTD %

% Japan

JPY=

+0.25 -15.6 <.N2 -0.38 -1.55

6 25>

China

<CNY=CFXS

-0.35 -7.37 <.SS -1.38 -11.23

>

EC>

India

INR=IN

+0.19 -6.76 <.NS

0.10

1.39

EI>

Indonesi IDR=

-0.17 -4.10 <.JK

0.04

8.88 a

SE>

Malaysia MYR=

+0.02 -7.18 <.KL -0.74 -6.12

SE>

Philippi PHP=

-0.02 -9.04 <.PS

0.69 -6.44 nes

I>

S.Korea <KRW=KFTC

+0.32 -11.3 <.KS

0.47 -17.83

>

6 11>

Singapor SGD=

-0.10 -3.15 <.ST -0.05

3.87 e

I>

Taiwan

TWD=TP

-0.18 -8.49 <.TW

0.04 -17.11

II>

Thailand THB=TH

-0.28 -7.60 <.SE

0.23 -1.22

TI>


Reporting by Upasana Singh in Bengaluru