Asia FX turns higher after dismal China trade data

SINGAPORE: Most emerging Asian currencies firmed on Friday as China's disappointing trade data raised hopes that Beijing will deliver more stimulus, while regional units headed for weekly losses amid mounting caution growing ahead of a key U.S. jobs data.

Most regional currencies started the day weaker as upbeat U.S. weekly jobless claims raised expectations of solid April employment data, which would support expectations for U.S. interest rate increases.

Asian currencies turned weaker, however, after data showed China's exports surprisingly fell in April and imports tumbled more than expected. The dismal trade report boosted views that Beijing will quickly roll out more stimulus to avert a sharper economic slowdown. 

India's rupee led daily appreciation among Asian peers, as local shares jumped and custodian banks' currency selling eased.

Still, investors hesitated to add bullish bets on emerging Asian currencies as the dollar broadly rose ahead of U.S. non-farm payrolls for April due later in the day.

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits held near a 15-year low last week, data showed on Thursday, boosting views that the April report would show strength in the labour market. 

Economists expect U.S. employers to have added 224,000 jobs last month, according to a Reuters poll ahead of the non-farm payrolls report. That would mark an increase of about 100,000 from the previous month.

?We expect a strong NFP number, which will put more pressure on Asian currencies," said Andy Ji, Asian currency strategist for Commonwealth Bank of Australia, in Singapore.-Reuters

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