Sun, Jan 18, 2009 - Page 11 News List

Asian currencies end week lower as investors cut back


Asian currencies fell this week, pushing a regional benchmark to a one-month low, as a deepening global economic slump prompted investors cut their holdings of riskier assets.

Malaysia’s ringgit, the South Korean won and India’s rupee all slumped about 1 percent as reports showed US retail sales dropped for a sixth month in December and China’s exports fell the most in a decade.

“Doubts and fears on whether policy measures will work to shore up the economy are growing,” said Kim Jae-eun, an economist with Hana Daetoo Securities Co in Seoul. “That keeps seeping through to currency and stock markets.”

The Bloomberg-JPMorgan Asia Dollar Index, which tracks the region’s 10 most active currencies excluding the yen, slid 0.4 percent this week to 105.56.

The regional index touched a one-month low of 103.79 on Monday.

The ringgit dropped 1 percent to 3.5765 per US dollar, the won declined 1.1 percent to 1,358 and the rupee lost 1.1 percent to 48.7975.

Malaysia’s currency slid for a second week ahead of the central bank meeting on Wednesday, at which economists surveyed by Bloomberg predict the benchmark interest rate will be reduced to 3 percent.

Singapore’s dollar fell 0.5 percent this week to S$1.4868 against the greenback.

Elsewhere, the Thai baht fell 0.2 percent to 34.89 and the Philippine peso slipped 0.1 percent to 47.205.

The Vietnamese dong and China’s yuan were both little changed at 17,478.50 and 6.8374 respectively.

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