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Asian currencies mixed

The Thai baht rose on short-covering on Wednesday, pulling away from a three-month low set last week on concerns over political tensions, while the Indonesian rupiah fell on dollar-buying by onshore players. Moves in Asian currencies were mixed, with the baht and the Philippine peso getting a respite after a recent selloff, while those like the rupiah and the Indian rupee retreated.

Although there is caution that emerging Asian currencies could come under pressure if the US Federal Reserve were to announce a scaling back of its monetary stimulus at its December 17-18 policy meeting, some market players say a big shock is unlikely.

Traders said long liquidation in the dollar underpinned the baht, which rose as high as 31.90, from a three-month low of 32.34 set last Friday.

The Philippine peso also edged higher and was fetching 44.12 to the dollar, up from Tuesday's three-month low of 44.35. A mix of dollar-buying by offshore funds, corporate demand for the greenback, and a technical breakout had helped knock the peso lower in the past few sessions.

Still, provided dollar's downside versus the peso doesn't gain too much momentum, the market will probably look to buy the US currency on dips, said a trader based in the Philippines.

"I expect another attempt at the 44.31-44.35 level within the next few days, as we head towards the FOMC meeting," the trader said.

The Indonesian rupiah fell as low as 12,012, nearing a low of 12,035 set last Thursday, the rupiah's weakest level versus the dollar since March 2009, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The official Jakarta Interbank Spot Dollar Rate (JISDOR), which the central bank launched in May in an effort to manage exchange rate fluctuations, was fixed at 12,005 rupiah per dollar. That was the lowest since last Thursday's fixing of 12,018, which was the weakest since JISDOR's introduction.

The South Korean won the domestic session flat on Wednesday, as foreign outflows from local stocks and demand from importers helped the dollar bounce off early lows. The local currency was quoted at 1,052.1 against its US counterpart at the end of onshore trade, compared with Tuesday's domestic closing level of 1,052.2.

Copyright Reuters, 2013