The New Taiwan dollar advanced for a third week and reached a 13-year high on Friday before suspected central bank intervention trimmed gains in late trading.
The central bank bought US dollars in the final minute of trading to check gains that may hurt exporters, according to two traders who declined to be identified.
The NT dollar strengthened by as much as 2.6 percent to NT$29.766 earlier on Friday, before data due tomorrow that will show orders for Taiwanese goods rose 13.3 percent last month from a year earlier, according to the median estimate of economists in a Bloomberg survey.
“Strong exports support the currency,” said Juan Hao-yun, a currency trader at King’s Town Bank (京城銀行) in Taipei. “You can tell from intraday trading patterns that the currency market looks very bullish.”
The NT dollar gained 0.3 percent this week and 0.1 percent on Friday to NT$30.510 as of the 4pm local market close, according to Taipei Forex Inc. The currency was 2.4 percent stronger one minute before the end of the trading session.
The Bloomberg-JPMorgan Asia Dollar Index, which tracks the region’s 10 most-active currencies, dropped 0.5 percent this week to 114.68. The Philippine peso weakened 1.2 percent to 44.23 per US dollar, South Korea’s won slid 0.8 percent to 1,152.58 and the Singapore dollar lost 0.4 percent to S$1.3125, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The peso had its worst week since the five-day period ended Nov. 12 on speculation overseas investors are paring bets the currency will rise as the central bank regulates the availability of US dollars.
The won completed a second consecutive weekly loss after Yonhap Infomax reported that South Korea may impose a bank levy on lenders’ short and long-term overseas debt. The government could unveil details of the plan today, South Korean Deputy Finance Minister Shin Je-yoon said.
Elsewhere in Asia this week, the Indian rupee dropped 0.7 percent to 45.355 per US dollar and Thailand’s baht declined 0.2 percent to 30.13. Indonesia’s rupiah slipped 0.1 percent to 9,035, China’s yuan was little changed at 6.6560 per dollar and Malaysia’s ringgit was steady at 3.1350.
The US dollar rose for a second week against the euro as US Treasury yields reached a seven-month high on stronger-than-forecast economic data and concern Europe’s debt crisis will spread boosted demand for the US currency.
The greenback touched an almost three-month high against the yen this week as Treasury yields lured buyers and US President Barack Obama signed into law an US$858 billion tax cut bill. The euro dropped to a two-week low against the greenback on concern an agreement reached at the EU summit this week won’t contain the region’s debt problems.
The US currency rose 0.3 percent to US$1.3188 per euro, from US$1.3226 on Dec. 10, and touched US$1.3133, the strongest since Dec. 2 The greenback gained to ￥83.98 from ￥83.95 last week and reached ￥84.51, the highest since Sept. 24. The euro added 0.3 percent percent to ￥110.77, from ￥111.04.
The Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against the currencies of six major US trading partners including the euro, yen and pound, rose 0.4 percent to 80.362, from 80.070 Dec. 10. The euro has gained 1.6 percent versus the greenback this month and the yen has dropped 0.4 percent.
The pound was the worst performer against all of its major peers. Sterling weakened 1.7 percent to US$1.5533 and lost 1.4 percent to ￡0.8491 per euro.