Emerging Asia currencies up after poor US data

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TOKYO: Currencies continued their will-they-won't-they dance over the Federal Reserve stimulus climbdown in Asian trade Monday after poor US new-home data offered some support to emerging market units.

The Indian rupee, which tumbled to a record low of 65.56 to the dollar last week, fetched 63.35 to the dollar in Tokyo morning trade against 64.45 Friday afternoon.

The Indonesian rupiah edged up to 10,770 from 10,963. The Philippine peso firmed to 44.17 from 44.26 pesos, and the Thai baht rose to 31.87 from 31.94 baht.

Meanwhile the dollar was largely unchanged against two of the world's major currencies.

Against the yen, the greenback was at 98.70 yen, flat from New York Friday afternoon.

The euro bought $1.3382 and 132.09 yen compared with $1.3381 and 132.11 yen.

Expectations of an end to the US stimulus programme have seen foreigners in recent months repatriate some of the vast sums that have poured into emerging economies, hitting currencies and equities.

The dollar was under pressure after the Commerce Department on Friday reported new-home sales in July plunged more than expected from June, by 13.4 percent, the biggest month-on-month drop in more than three years.

The disappointing data raised questions about whether the Federal Reserve would go ahead with its expected announcement of stimulus tapering at its September 17-18 policy meeting.

"There is continued strong focus on indicators to predict when the Fed will begin tapering," Kengo Suzuki, forex strategist at Mizuho Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires.

Last week the dollar had risen after minutes from the Fed's July policy

meeting showed board members had differing opinions on when to wind down its $85 billion a month bond-buying, known as quantitative easing (QE).

Some back a "taper" as soon as next month, while others said the bank needed to see more evidence the US economy was strong enough.

Fed boss Ben Bernanke has said it will not reel in the scheme until the

economy can stand on its own two feet and unemployment is below seven percent.

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