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Asia's emerging currencies traded mostly lower on Wednesday, with Indonesia's rupiah and the South Korean won leading losses, as the dollar hovered near a one-week high, buoyed by US policy tightening expectations.

The Indonesian rupiah and the South Korean won each fell about 0.5%, with the rupiah touching its lowest in over two weeks and the won dropping to its lowest in nearly three months.

The Malaysian ringgit and the Philippine peso each weakened about 0.2%, but the Thai baht bucked the trend and extended gains.

The US dollar index, which measures the currency against its six major peers, last traded at 96.243, not far from a one-week high of 96.308 touched on Tuesday.

The dollar was buoyed on Tuesday by higher US Treasury yields as bond investors geared up for interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve by mid-year to curb stubbornly high inflation.

Most Asian FX decline, Thai baht bucks trend to hit 2-week high

US Treasury yields rose across maturities for a second day on Tuesday, with the benchmark 10-year yield advancing to a six-week high.

"The market focus is generally turned towards the tighter policy outlook, with resilient economic conditions thus far supporting expectations that the path for policy normalisation will remain undeterred ahead," said Yeap Jun Rong, market strategist at retail trading platform IG.

Investors are also expected to keep an eye on US employment and payrolls data due later in the week. Strong data prints could reinforce the Fed's hawkish bias and further support the dollar, analysts at Maybank said.

Back in Asia, China's yuan, one of the only two Asian currencies to have posted full-year gains in 2021, eased for a second straight day on rising investor worries about capital outflows.

Elsewhere, the Thai baht added 0.3% to hit a six-week high of 33.14 per dollar on the back of some portfolio inflows.

The gains came even as the Bank of Thailand sounded more downbeat in minutes from its latest policy meeting released on Wednesday.

Thailand's outbreak of the Omicron coronavirus variant could have a larger and more prolonged impact than expected on an economic recovery, the central bank said, according to the minutes.

Maybank analysts expect the upside moves in the baht to be "constrained" due to the potential impact of Omicron, with resistance seen at 33.10 per dollar.

Earlier in the day, data showed Thailand's inflation rose by less than expected in December from a year earlier.

Trading in regional stock markets was also mixed.

Shares in Indonesia, Singapore and South Korea declined between 0.2% and 1.3%, while the Malaysian benchmark advanced up to 0.5% after a two-day losing streak.

The Thai benchmark gained for a fifth straight day. It jumped 0.3% to hit its highest since September 2019, with oil giants like PTT Pcl, PTT Exploration and Production and Thai Oil boosting the index on the back of strong oil prices.

Meanwhile, the Philippine bourse, which suspended trading on Tuesday due to a technical glitch, was lower on Wednesday in thin volumes. It jumped as much as 1.3% earlier in the day.


** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields drop 11.2 basis points to 6.297%, lowest since December 1

** China Evergrande to meet with some yuan bondholders to delay redemption date

** Philippine Dec inflation at 12-month low, seen within target in 2022


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