Sun, Nov 11, 2007 - Page 10 News List

Asian currencies gain, led by peso and ringgit

BLOOMBERG

Asian currencies strengthened this week as the dollar extended declines on speculation the US Federal Reserve will keep cutting interest rates to revive slowing economic growth.

The Philippine peso rose to the highest in more than seven years as the dollar slid against eight of the 10 most-active currencies in Asia outside Japan. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Thursday that the expansion in the US may "slow noticeably" this quarter. The central bank reduced rates last month for a second time this year to help spur growth as losses related to subprime-mortgage loans spread.

The peso this week gained 2 percent to 42.805 a dollar, said Tullett Prebon Plc, the world's second-largest inter-dealer broker. It has risen 3.6 percent in the past month.

Malaysia's ringgit rose to the strongest in a decade on Friday as traders raised bets to 90 percent that the Fed will lower its key rate for loans between banks to 4.25 percent from 4.5 percent on its next meeting on Dec. 11, versus 68 percent a week ago, according to interest-rate futures.

The ringgit traded at 3.32 per US dollar on Friday, a gain of 0.7 percent this week, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.

The New Taiwan dollar posted a fifth weekly gain, reaching the highest in 11 months, as the US currency weakened.

The Taiwanese currency was also buoyed as traders bet the local central bank would keep raising interest rates to curb inflation that reached a 13-year high last month.

The New Taiwan dollar rose 0.3 percent this week to NT$32.288, Taipei Forex Inc data show.

Elsewhere, the South Korean won was little changed this week at 906.80 per dollar, the Thai baht climbed 0.3 percent to 33.92 in onshore trading, the Singapore dollar gained 0.6 percent to S$1.4412 and the Indonesian rupiah rose 0.1 percent to 9,126. Vietnam's dong was little changed at 16,068.

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