Sun, Oct 07, 2007 - Page 10 News List

Philippine peso leads regional gains

BLOOMBERG

The Philippine peso rose to the highest close in 10 weeks against the US dollar on speculation the central bank prefers a strengthening currency.

The peso was the best performing of the 10 most active Asian currencies on Friday, advancing for a second day since central bank Governor Amando Tetangco said the "continued strength of the peso provides a buffer against rising commodity prices."

"The central bank implied that the peso will remain strong as it helps contain inflationary pressures from oil and other commodities," said Marcelo Ayes, senior vice president for treasury at Rizal Commercial Banking Corp in Manila.

The peso advanced 0.5 percent to 44.74 at the 4pm close in Manila, the highest since July 24, according to Tullett Prebon Plc, the world's second-largest inter-dealer broker.

Philippine inflation last month quickened to 2.7 percent, the fastest pace in eight months, a report showed on Friday. The median estimate of 13 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was 2.6 percent, and the rate is still below the central bank's 4 percent to 5 percent target this year.

Malaysia's ringgit rose for a second day on speculation that overseas investors will buy local equities.

The ringgit recouped a weekly decline as the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index had the best week since the five days to Aug. 24.

A government report on industrial production next week will probably show that domestic demand is supporting economic growth.

"Risk appetite will return and the market will sell back the dollar in favor of Asian currencies," said Awaluddin Shariff, a currency trader at EON Bank Bhd in Kuala Lumpur. "Growth prospects are still OK."

The currency rose to 3.4045 against the US dollar from 3.4102 late on Friday, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.

The Taiwan dollar gained for a third week, adding 0.2 percent to NT$32.597 against the US currency, Taipei Forex Inc said. A report on Friday showed Taiwan's inflation accelerated to a two-year high last month.

Consumer prices advanced 3.08 percent from a year earlier, the state statistics bureau said in Taipei. That was more than the 2.06 percent median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 18 economists. Prices rose a revised 1.6 percent in August.

Indonesia's rupiah strengthened, ending three days of losses, on speculation the central bank will defer cutting interest rates next week to help temper inflation.

The rupiah rose 0.3 percent to 9,101 against the US currency, completing a fourth weekly gain, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Bank Indonesia will keep the rate used as reference for bill sales at 8.25 percent on Monday, 16 of 17 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News said.

Elsewhere, the Singapore dollar rose 0.6 percent in the week, the Thai baht posted a weekly gain of 0.1 percent and the Vietnam dong was little changed in the week at 16,083.5.

China's onshore markets were closed this week for national holidays.

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