EM ASIA FX-Dollar short covering hit won, peso; stock inflows eyed

 * Won down 0.3 pct on dividend linked dlr demand
 * Peso dips 0.2 pct; StanChart advise using it as funding
currency
 * Any dips seen chances to buy

 (Updates with text, prices)	
 By Jongwoo Cheon	
 SINGAPORE, April 4 (Reuters) - The South Korean won and the
Philippine peso weakened on Tuesday as investors covered
dollar-short positions, but continued interest from foreign
investors in Asian shares checked declines in most regional
currencies.	
 Australia's central bank kept interest rates as expected and
played down the impact of the disaster in Japan, easing
expectations for further dollar-short covering against the
emerging Asian currencies.	
 Investors are awaiting Federal Reserve minutes later in the
day for more clues on the U.S. central bank's policy outlook,
but any further rise in the dollar may not hamper the bullish
outlook for Asian currencies, dealers and analysts said.	
 A weaker euro after Moody's downgraded Portugal's credit
rating [ID:nL3E7F50X6] may cause more dollar-short covering, but
that is unlikely to be sustained, they added.	
 "Any falls in Asian currencies will provide chances to enter
long-Asian currencies as long as stocks are positive," said a
Kuala Lumpur-based dealer, asking not to be identified as he was
not authorised to speak to the press.	
 Sustained inflows into Asian stock markets have helped the
regional currencies enjoy solid gains in recent weeks, with the
won hitting a 2-1/2-year high on Monday.	
 Regional foreign exchange authorities may continue to step
into currency markets to check strength in their currencies, but
any interventions will be just to slow down the rate of their
gains, not to reverse the market trend, analysts said.	
 Ho Woei Chen, an economist at United Overseas Bank in
Singapore, said Asian central banks may face more pressure from
developed countries not to intervene. Finance ministers from 
the rich Group of Seven countries are set to meet next week.	
 Standard Chartered recommended using the peso to buy other
emerging Asian currencies such as the ringgit and the
rupiah .	
 "Given the BSP's apparent preference for a stable rather
than a strong PHP and the Philippine vulnerability to
oil-inflated trade deficits, leveraged funds should use the PH
as a funding currency to long positions in Asia ex-Japan (AXJ)
currencies such as the Indonesian rupiah (IDR) and Malaysian
ringgit (MYR), which have positive exposure to high commodity
prices," it said in a research note.	
 The peso has risen 1.0 percent per dollar so far this year,
underperforming a 3.9 percent gain in the rupiah and a 1.9
percent rise in the ringgit.	
 	
 WON	
 The won  snapped a five-session winning
streak as investors covered dollar-short positions after the
foreign exchange authorities were spotted buying dollars on
Monday.	
 It came under further pressure from dollar demand linked to
local companies' dividend payments to foreign shareholders. SK
telecom paid 332.3 billion won ($305.6 million) in
dividends to foreign stakeholders, according to Reuters'
calculations.	
 "We should be careful about intervention here and players
appeared to hold dollar-short positions still, although the
won's long-term bullish trend remains intact," said a U.S. Bank
dealer in Seoul.	
 Still, the won found support as exporters such as
electronics makers chased it for settlements when it weakened
past 1,090 per dollar with the 1,100 level, which the
authorities had defended but allowed the won to cross last week,
seen clearly broken.	
 Foreign investors extended their buying streak in the Seoul
stock market to a 15th consecutive session.	
 	
 PESO	
 The peso  slid as investors covered
dollar-short positions after it failed to break through 43.30
per dollar, thwarted by the central bank's intervention to
defend that level in the previous session and on dollar demand
for fixing.	
 Weaker-than-expected consumer inflation data also put
pressure on the peso, dealers said. The Philippine consumer
price index in March rose 4.3 percent from a year ago, below a
forecast of 4.6 percent gain. [ID:nMNB000054]	
 The central bank also said consumer prices remained
well-behaved, although it will continue to monitor for
second-round effects and shifts in inflation expectations.
[ID:nMNB000055]	
 But a European bank dealer in Manila said the central bank
is still seen raising rates as the recent rise in oil prices has
not been reflected in March's inflation data, adding those 
expectations may support the peso.	
 Another dealer said he would enter dollar-short positions
around 43.50.	
 	
 RINGGIT	
 The ringgit  edged down as investors covered
dollar-short positions as they don't want to test the central
bank's determination to check the Malaysian currency's strength.	
 The Malaysian central bank have been spotted buying dollars
around 3.0250 per dollar.	
 The local currency also came under pressure as investors
booked profit from risk currencies.	
 	
  CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR                                  	
  Change on the day at 0705 GMT	
  Currency    Latest bid   Previous day    Pct Move
  Japan yen        84.26          84.06       -0.24
  Sing dlr        1.2609         1.2603       -0.05
 *Taiwan dlr      29.310         29.320       +0.03
  Korean won     1089.60        1086.60       -0.28
  Baht             30.21          30.20       -0.03
  Peso             43.40          43.31       -0.21
  Rupiah         8666.00        8660.00       -0.07
  Rupee            44.44          44.53       +0.19
  Ringgit         3.0260         3.0254       -0.02
 *Yuan            6.5477         6.5479       +0.00
                                                                                               
  Change so far in 2011                                                                              
  Currency    Latest bid  End prev year    Pct Move
  Japan yen        84.26          81.15       -3.69
  Sing dlr        1.2609         1.2820       +1.67
  Taiwan dlr      29.310         30.368       +3.61
  Korean won     1089.60        1134.80       +4.15
  Baht             30.21          30.14       -0.23
  Peso             43.40          43.84       +1.01
  Rupiah         8666.00        9005.00       +3.91
  Rupee            44.44          44.70       +0.59
  Ringgit         3.0260         3.0820       +1.85
  Yuan            6.5477         6.5897       +0.64
* Financial markets in China and Taiwan were closed for
holidays.	
($1=1087.4 Won)	
(Additional reporting by Catherine Tan of IFR Markets; Editing
by )	
 	
 	
	
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EM ASIA FX-Dollar short covering hit won, peso; stock inflows eyed