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Most Asian currencies slid against the dollar on Tuesday, with the South Korean won leading the declines, as the rising death toll from the fast-spreading coronavirus battered appetite for risk.
The won KRW=KFTC slipped as much as 0.8% to its lowest level in nearly three weeks as investors returned from a Lunar New Year break.
Asian financial markets extended a global selloff on fears that the new coronavirus, which has claimed 106 lives so far in China and has spread to more than 10 countries, could hit growth in the world's second-largest economy. Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Taiwan are among the nations that have confirmed cases of the virus.
"Across the Asia-Pacific, the downward pressure on local currencies will continue until we see some good news emerging in the Wuhan virus fight," Jeffery Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA, said in a note.
He, however, said Asian currencies were "well placed to weather the storm for some time to come" as they had rallied before the viral outbreak.
Trading in the onshore yuan CNY=CFXS was closed for the Lunar New Year holidays, which have been extended by three days to Feb. 2 as China takes further steps to curb the spread of the virus. the offshore market, the yuan CNH=D3 was at 6.9722 versus the dollar, recovering slightly from Monday when it hit 6.9900, the lowest since Dec. 30.
Malaysia's rinngit slipped up to 0.5%, while the Indonesian rupiah declined 0.4%. The Thai baht THB=TH skidded 0.3% to its weakest since August 2019.
The Philippine peso and the Indian rupee INR=IN each firmed 0.2%. There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in the Philippines and India. a slump in oil prices also supported the rupee. India is among the world's top importers of oil and easing crude prices bode well for the country's trade deficit. O/R
Taiwan's financial markets were closed for holidays.
The following table shows rates for Asian currencies against the dollar at 0529 GMT.
CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR
Latest bid Previous day Pct Move Japan yen
-0.07 Sing dlr
+0.01 Korean won
Change so far in 2020
Latest bid End 2019
Pct Move Japan yen
-0.33 Sing dlr
-0.95 Taiwan dlr
+0.33 Korean won
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