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Emerging Asian currencies traded in narrow ranges on Wednesday, with the Thailand baht drifting ahead of a closely watched central bank decision later in the day, while the Taiwan dollar and Indian rupee rose.

Markets in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Manila and Jakarta were closed for the Eid al-Fitr public holiday.

The Thai baht was trading steady at 36.300 per dollar as at 0420 GMT.

It is presently one of the worst-performing emerging Asia currencies, having lost nearly 6% on a year-to-date basis. Stocks rose 0.2%.

The Bank of Thailand is likely to stay pat on rates for the third consecutive meeting during the day, according to a Reuters poll, even as more economists now call for an earlier cut. Should the central bank announce a rate cut, it could be the first central bank in the region to slash rates.

South-east Asia’s second largest economy is currently grappling with a sluggish economic recovery, and the government has stepped up pressure on the central bank to slash rates.

“I don’t think there will be a concern on the credibility of the Bank of Thailand as long as the central bank is able to explain the reason well if it cuts rates, and I don’t think there will be much effect on the Thai baht today,” Poon Panichpibool, a markets strategist with Krung Thai Bank said.

Asian currencies: Philippine peso, Thai baht at multi-month lows

“But if the BoT signals that there could be more rate cuts coming, that could be a negative for the baht,” he added.

Other central banks meetings include Singapore and South Korea, where both are expected to keep their respective policy stances unchanged.

Globally, traders are waiting for the all-important US CPI data later in the day, as they seek more cues on where interest rates might be headed later this year.

Consensus shows a rise in March headline inflation to 3.4% year-on-year, from 3.2% in February. Stocks in Mumbai and the Indian currency were up 0.3% and 0.1% respectively, while those in Taipei rose about 0.2% and 0.3% respectively.

Asia’s third largest economy is set to enter parliamentary elections next week, while South Korea markets were closed on the day due to legislative elections to elect a 300-member parliament.

Separately, ratings agency Fitch downgraded China’s outlook to negative on Tuesday, citing increasing risks to the country’s public finance outlook.

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