Most emerging Asian currencies and stocks declined on Thursday, as investors stayed cautious ahead of a key US jobs report that could give clarity on the Federal Reserve’s interest rate trajectory.

South Korea’s won led the decline among currencies, falling as much as 0.9% to 1,324.70 per dollar. The unit was set to fall for a third consecutive session. The Indonesian rupiah slipped as much as 0.3%.

“The USD/KRW pair is trading towards 1,320, with KRW strength dampened by a softer RMB (renminbi) and a marked softening in Korea’s inflation,” analysts at DBS said in a note.

“Core inflation is not falling that quickly, easing slightly for November, which could underpin Bank Of Korea’s decision to hold rates for a longer period, supporting the KRW,” they added.

Data on Wednesday showed US private payrolls increased less than expected in November, in yet another sign that the labour market is gradually cooling.

Market participants will now focus on the non-farm payrolls report on Friday, which is likely to give a clearer view of the Fed’s future actions.

“Thus far, however, even as labour market metrics turned out to be softer than anticipated, USD continues to rise,” Maybank analysts wrote.

The dollar index, which measures the strength of the greenback against six major rivals, was at 104.18 at 0355 GMT.

Asian currencies ease with US jobs data in focus

Investors also digested mixed economic data from China, Asia’s largest economy, which showed an uptick in exports while imports fell sharply, suggesting that domestic demand was still subdued.

Chinese stocks fell 0.3%, while the yuan traded flat.

Other currencies such as the Singapore dollar fell for the fourth straight session, while the Malaysian ringgit and Taiwan dollar traded 0.2% lower.

Thailand’s baht and stocks were down 0.2% and 1%, respectively, after Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy reported its November inflation print at its lowest in nearly three years.

Among Asian equities, stocks in Singapore fell as much as 1.1% to a near five-week low, while equities in Taiwan , Philippines and Malaysia slipped between 0.2% and 0.6%.

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