Asian currencies gained this week as the US Federal Reserve signaled it would maintain a loose monetary policy and a North Korean rocket launch failed.
Singapore’s dollar led gains among Asia’s 10 most-used currencies excluding the yen, as better-than-expected economic growth prompted the central bank to say it would target faster appreciation to limit inflation. China’s yuan advanced as data showed lending picked up last month and the trade balance unexpectedly swung to a surplus. Malaysia and the Philippines both reported jumps in February exports.
“Growth in the region is still resilient and Singapore’s move shows policymakers are more comfortable on the outlook than they were six months ago,” said Sim Moh Siong, a currency strategist at Bank of Singapore Ltd (新加坡銀行).
The New Taiwan dollar rose 0.1 percent to NT$29.528 this week.
The Singapore dollar strengthened 1.1 percent this week to S$1.2457 against the greenback, the biggest advance since January. The yuan climbed 0.05 percent to 6.3030, Malaysia’s ringgit gained 0.4 percent to 3.0528 and the Philippine peso advanced 0.3 percent to 42.655.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Vice Chairman Janet Yellen said this week further easing might be warranted if US economic growth falters. The monetary authority uses asset purchases to hold down borrowing costs, a policy that increased the supply of dollars and spurred demand for higher-yielding assets elsewhere.
South Korea’s won fell 0.3 percent this week to 1,135 per US dollar after an intelligence report suggested North Korea planned to test a nuclear weapon. The currency strengthened 0.5 percent on Friday after a long-range rocket launched by the North broke up and fell into the sea within minutes of liftoff.
“Investors are just shrugging off this launch,” said Im Jeong-jae, a Seoul-based fund manager at Shinhan BNP Paribas Asset Management Co. “The news came out before the market opened that the rocket launch failed.”
Elsewhere, Thailand’s baht appreciated 0.6 percent this week to 30.82 per US dollar. Indonesia’s rupiah gained 0.3 percent to 9,140 and India’s rupee fell 0.4 percent to 51.3025 per US dollar.