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Subdued US$ helps some Asian units rise; S Korea won falls


SOME Asian currencies inched higher on Wednesday as decade-low US manufacturing activity data kept the dollar subdued, while South Korea's won weakened after North Korea fired a ballistic missile.

The data on factory activity hit global equity markets as it increased worries about a slowing US economy. South Korea said its neighbour fired at least one missile off its East Coast, possibly from a submarine, one day after announcing the resumption of talks with the United States aimed at ending its nuclear programme. "For the won, geopolitical risk premium is the main driver, with North Korea testing some missiles. That typically triggers a paring back of long won positions," said Chang Wei Liang, a macro strategist at DBS Bank in Singapore.

The South Korean won declined 0.5 per cent in its second straight session of weakening. Dismal inflation and exports data had pressured the currency on Tuesday. The offshore yuan traded 0.1 per cent lower, while other Chinese markets remained closed due to the National Day holiday.

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The Singapore dollar edged down marginally, tracking weakness in the offshore yuan, while Indonesia's rupiah climbed slightly after two consecutive sessions of losses. REUTERS