Sun, Aug 28, 2011 - Page 10 News List

Asian currencies decline on concern growth sputtering


India’s rupee and Thailand’s baht led declines among Asian currencies this week on signs economic growth was slowing in the region and speculation cooled that the US Federal Reserve would unveil further stimulus measures.

Taiwan’s industrial output rose less than estimated last month and consumer confidence in South Korea last month fell to its lowest since March, reports showed this week. The US economy grew at a 1 percent annual rate in the second quarter, compared with an estimate of 1.3 percent, according to the median forecast of economists in a Bloomberg survey. The Dollar Index traded on ICE Futures in New York fell this week before a speech on Friday by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.

“The market is priced for disappointing news, judging by the price action, given the Fed has limited options,” said Lam Chee Mun, a fund manager in Kuala Lumpur at TA Investment Management Bhd.

Bernanke said on Friday the Fed still has tools to stimulate an economic recovery, without giving details. The recovery is likely to improve in the second half of this year, he told an annual forum in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

The baht slid 0.5 percent this week to 29.98 per US dollar in Bangkok, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The rupee fell 0.9 percent to 46.1575.

Singapore reported yesterday that annual growth in industrial production slowed to 7.4 percent last month following a revised 10.7 percent increase in June.

India’s rupee completed a fourth weekly decline, taking its drop for the month to 4.2 percent. Global investors have reduced holdings of the nation’s shares by US$2 billion this month on concern Asia’s third-biggest economy was slowing. GDP rose 7.6 percent in the three months ended June, the least in six quarters, according to the median forecast of economists in a Bloomberg survey before official data due on Tuesday.

The baht touched 29.98 per US dollar yesterday. International funds sold US$471 million more Thai shares than they bought this week through Thursday, taking net sales this month to US$1.2 billion, exchange data show.

The currency may be supported by official data released on Thursday that showed exports rose 38.3 percent last month from a year earlier, the most in 13 months, Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd said.

Elsewhere, the New Taiwan dollar dropped 0.2 percent this week to NT$29.06 per US dollar, the ringgit fell 0.2 percent to 2.9888 and the rupiah declined 0.1 percent to 8,569, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Singapore dollar rose 0.4 percent to S$1.2069, the won advanced 0.4 percent to 1,082.50, the Philippine peso gained 0.3 percent to 42.455 and the yuan rose 0.1 percent to 6.3872.

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