Sun, Apr 08, 2012 - Page 10 News List

Asian currencies drop as Spain debt reignites concern

WAIT AND SEE:With most markets closed on Friday, an analyst said it was hard to predict a trend as people waited for the US jobs report on Friday


Asian currencies declined this week, led by the Thai baht and India’s rupee, as rising borrowing costs in Spain renewed concern over Europe’s debt crisis and after the US Federal Reserve ruled out further monetary easing.

The Bloomberg-JPMorgan Asia Dollar Index, which tracks the region’s 10 most-active currencies excluding the yen, slipped 0.2 percent, the fifth weekly drop this year.

“Preference for riskier assets weakened as expectations for stimulus policies retreated, and also because economic figures out of Europe this week were negative,” said Jeon Seung Ji, a Seoul-based currency analyst at Samsung Futures Inc.

The baht fell 0.5 percent to 31.01 per US dollar and the rupee lost 0.4 percent to 51.105, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Both markets were closed on Friday for holidays, along with Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore. India was also closed on Thursday.

The New Taiwan dollar edged down 0.1 percent this week to NT$29.562 against the US dollar, according to Taipei Forex Inc.

The yuan also slid 0.1 percent to 6.3063 in Shanghai, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trade System.

“It’s hard to see a trend given that most markets are closed,” said Azmi Shukri Rahman, a foreign-exchange trader at CIMB Investment Bank Bhd in Kuala Lumpur. “Most people are adjusting their positions ahead of the weekend before the release of US non-farm payrolls data [on Friday].”

Other data this week showed retail sales in the EU contracted in February, while factory orders in Germany rose by a fifth of the pace economists had predicted. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said on Wednesday that the euro region’s fourth-largest economy is in “extreme difficulty.”

Malaysia’s ringgit dropped 0.2 percent for the week to 3.0643 per US dollar. The currency rose 0.2 percent on Friday ahead of data on Tuesday that may show exports increased 8 percent in February, the most since November, according to the median estimate of economists surveyed.

Elsewhere this week, Indonesia’s rupiah declined 0.1 percent to 9,171. The Philippine peso advanced 0.3 percent to 42.798 and South Korea’s won strengthened 0.1 percent to 1,131.80.

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