Asian currencies rose in the first quarter of the year, led by India’s rupee and the Malaysian ringgit, as the world’s fastest economic growth attracted funds to regional assets.
Stock markets in Taiwan, South Korea and India together attracted about US$24 billion of overseas funds this year, exchange data show.
Asia’s developing economies will expand 7.3 percent this year, outpacing growth of 3.6 percent in Latin America and 1.8 percent in the US, according to IMF projections published in January. The eurozone is forecast to contract 0.5 percent.
The rupee strengthened 4.3 percent in the first quarter to 50.88 per US dollar in Mumbai, the best performance since mid-2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The ringgit climbed 3.7 percent to 3.0598, the biggest gain since the third quarter of 2010. Thailand’s baht rose 2.3 percent to 30.85, after sliding 1.5 percent in the fourth quarter of last year as the nation’s worst floods in almost 70 years shut factories.
The Bloomberg-JPMorgan Asia Dollar Index, which tracks the region’s 10 most active currencies excluding the yen, climbed 1.5 percent this quarter, the biggest gain since December 2010. The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index of shares rose 11 percent.
The New Taiwan dollar gained 2.6 percent last quarter to finish at NT$29.530 per US dollar at the end of trading on Friday.
The won recorded a second quarterly advance as Bank of Korea official Kim Young-bae said in Seoul on Friday that GDP would increase more than forecast in the first quarter. The won has strengthened 1.7 percent since December last year to 1,133.10 per US dollar, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The Philippine peso rallied this quarter by the most since September 2010 as speculation the nation would receive a credit- rating upgrade buoyed demand for Philippine assets.
The peso advanced 2.2 percent this quarter to 42.92 per US dollar in Manila.
Elsewhere, China’s yuan weakened 0.06 percent last quarter to 6.2980 per dollar.
Indonesia’s rupiah fell 1.1 percent to 9,165, a third quarterly loss.