Sun, Feb 05, 2012 - Page 10 News List

Feisty NT dollar leads rise in Asian currencies

UPWARDLY MOBILE:The New Taiwan dollar on Friday completed its biggest five-day rally in a year and gained another 0.1% yesterday to NT$29.525 against the US dollar


Asian currencies rose for a fifth week, led by the New Taiwan dollar, as foreign investors poured money into the region amid optimism the global economy is recovering.

The NT dollar jumped 1.5 percent to NT$29.545 against its US counterpart as of the close on Friday, according to Taipei Forex Inc.

Yesterday the currency strengthened 0.1 percent to NT$29.525 against the US dollar, after reports showed better-than-forecast growth in US jobs, fueling global economic optimism.

The country’s financial markets were open yesterday to make up for an extended Lunar New Year holiday last week.

The Bloomberg-JPMorgan Asia Dollar Index saw its longest weekly run of gains since October 2010, after reports this week showed manufacturing in the US, China and Germany picked up last month.

The currencies were little changed on Friday as regional stocks snapped a three-day advance after Greece and its creditors struggled to reach an agreement on their debt swap.

“We have seen pretty good data in Asia, Europe and the US that led to risk-on sentiment and supported the Asian currencies,” said Yuji Kameoka, chief currency strategist at Daiwa Securities Co in Tokyo.

The Asia Dollar Index, which tracks the region’s 10 most-traded currencies excluding the yen, climbed 0.3 percent this week to 117.78 in Singapore. It reached a three-month high on Friday.

Thailand’s baht appreciated 1 percent to 30.85 and India’s rupee surged 1.3 percent to 48.6950.

Foreign funds bought US$2.5 billion more South Korean, Taiwanese and Thai equities than they sold in the first four days of this week and a net US$536 million of India’s shares in the first three days, according to exchange data.

The NT dollar on Friday completed the biggest five-day rally in a year as foreign funds pumped money into the country’s assets and official data on Monday showed unemployment declined in December.

“Foreign inflows boosted the Taiwan dollar,” said Ivy Leung, a Taipei-based fixed-income trader at Polaris Securities Co (寶來證券). “The appreciation in the Taiwan dollar has contributed to a bond rally.”

The Thai baht had a third consecutive weekly gain and reached a seven-week high on Tuesday, a day after the Thai ministry of finance said GDP may rise 5 percent this year, compared with projected growth of 1.1 percent last year.

The Malaysian ringgit climbed for a fifth week, the longest winning streak since 2010, before the release of data that economists predict would show factory-output growth quickened for the first time in four months. The ringgit added 1 percent to 3.0088 per US dollar.

Elsewhere, South Korea’s won rose 0.5 percent this week to 1,118.07 per US dollar. The Philippine peso added 0.6 percent to 42.61 and China’s yuan strengthened 0.6 percent to 6.3028. Indonesia’s rupiah was little changed at 8,980.

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