Sun, Feb 12, 2012 - Page 10 News List

Asian currencies slide in first weekly loss this year

ENDING THE RALLY:The US dollar rose against the NT as currency traders took their cue from weak regional players, with the greenback closing Friday at NT$29.56

Bloomberg

Asian currencies had this year’s first weekly loss after European leaders held back a bailout package for Greece, sapping demand for emerging-market assets.

The Bloomberg-JPMorgan Asia Dollar Index fell 0.5 percent this week, led by the Indian rupee’s biggest drop since December, as data showed Chinese and Philippine exports shrank, while Malaysian shipments rose at the slowest pace in seven months. Greece must pass its latest austerity package into law before European leaders endorse 130 billion euros (US$173 billion) of aid, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said on Thursday.

The NT dollar weakened 0.1 percent this week against its US coutnerpart. The Taiwanese -currency touched NT$29.37 on Friday, its strongest level since Sept. 13.

The NT dollar fell against the US currency on Friday, shedding NT$0.065 to close at NT$29.560 as traders cut their positions in the local currency after taking cues from the weakness of other currencies in the region, dealers said.

The greenback opened Friday at NT$29.520 and moved between NT$29.370 and NT$29.560 before the close. Turnover totaled US$1.12 billion during the trading session.

Dealers said the US dollar regained momentum against the NT dollar right after the local foreign exchange market opened, since most of the Asian currencies, in particular the South Korean won, were lower against the US unit.

A retreat of the local bourse also put downward pressure on the NT dollar. Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of NT$3.09 billion (US$105 million) in shares, which helped send the benchmark weighted index 0.61 percent lower, dealers said.

The central bank in Taipei intervened, buying into the US dollar, particularly in late trade, helping to boost the unit above NT$29.50 after it fell below that level on Thursday for the first time in nearly five months, dealers said.

The rupee fell 1.5 percent this week to 49.41 per US dollar in Mumbai, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The ringgit lost 0.9 percent to 3.0363, Indonesia’s rupiah depreciated 0.6 percent to 9,031 and South Korea’s won weakened 0.5 percent lower at 1,123.73.

Malaysia’s ringgit snapped a five-week rally, retreating from a five-month high, after a government report on Thursday showed exports climbed 6.1 percent in -December, the slowest since May.

The won declined the most in a month yesterday after the central bank kept its seven-day repurchase rate at 3.25 percent on Wednesday, unchanged for an eighth straight month, saying the economy was in “a difficult situation.”

The rupiah fell for a second day yesterday. Bank Indonesia -unexpectedly cut its reference rate to 5.75 percent from 6 percent on Thursday, citing the need for stimulus to sustain economic growth.

The Philippine peso fell 0.7 percent yesterday to 42.49 per US dollar in Manila, reducing its weekly gain to 0.3 percent.

China’s yuan climbed 0.07 percent to 6.2986 for the week, after touching an 18-year high of 6.2884 yesterday.

Elsewhere, the Thai baht was little changed at 30.85 versus the US currency this week. Vietnam’s dong climbed 0.5 percent to 20,868.

Additional reporting by CNA, with staff writer

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