Sun, Jun 03, 2012 - Page 10 News List

Asian currencies tumble for fifth consecutive week


Asian currencies fell for a fifth week, the longest losing streak since June 2009, after economic reports in the US and China added to global slowdown signs and Europe’s debt crisis escalated.

The Bloomberg-JPMorgan Asia Dollar Index slid 0.6 percent, capping a 2.6 percent slump since April 27, as the New Taiwan dollar completed its biggest weekly loss since September last year and India’s rupee sank to an all-time low.

Manufacturing in China grew last month at the slowest pace this year, trailing 26 of 27 estimates in a Bloomberg survey, according to an index published by the -statistics bureau and logistics federation yesterday.

The New Taiwan dollar slid 0.9 percent to NT$29.931 this week and Malaysia’s ringgit fell 1.8 percent to 3.2100 per US dollar in Kuala Lumpur, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. India’s rupee slumped 0.4 percent to 55.5850, and Thailand’s baht lost 0.7 percent to 31.90. China’s yuan declined 0.4 percent to 6.3690, its biggest drop since January.

The Chinese manufacturing report followed data published on Friday that showed more Americans applied for jobless benefits in the week ending May 26 and private employment climbed 133,000 last month, compared with the median estimate of 150,000 in a Bloomberg News survey.

A global slowdown and speculation Greece could exit the 17-nation eurozone wiped US$4.5 trillion in market value from global stocks last month. Global funds pulled US$7.3 billion from equities in Taiwan and South Korea last month, exchange data showed. Foreigners also sold US$825 million more Indonesian shares than they bought and took US$470 million out of Thai stocks.

The Asia Dollar Index touched 113.74 on Friday, the lowest level since September 2010. The rupee lost 6 percent last month and touched a record-low of 56.515 to the US dollar on Friday, when the government reported economic growth of 5.3 percent for the last quarter, the slowest expansion in nine years.

Indonesia’s rupiah fell 0.6 percent to 9,528 to the US dollar this week in Jakarta, after reaching 9,643 on Friday, that marked the lowest level since October 2009. Offshore investors cut government debt holdings by 4.3 trillion rupiah (US$452 million) last month, according to Indonesian Ministry of Finance data on Thursday.

The Philippine peso strengthened 0.8 percent this week to 43.393 to the US dollar. Moody’s Investors Service raised the nation’s credit rating outlook to positive on -Tuesday and data showed on Friday that the economy grew 6.4 percent in the three months through March, faster than the 4.3 percent expansion forecast in a Bloomberg survey.

Elsewhere, South Korea’s won gained 0.7 percent to 1,177.83 to the US dollar and Vietnam’s dong fell 0.1 percent to 20,870.

Falling euro

The euro fell to an 11-year low against the yen and an almost three-year low against the dollar as Spanish officials debated how to fund a bailout of Bankia group, the nation’s third largest lender.

However, the greenback fell after a report showed the US added the fewest jobs in a year last month, increasing bets the US Federal Reserve would introduce further stimulus, which might debase the currency. The European Central Bank will publish its latest economic projections when it meets on Wednesday.

The yen rose 2.8 percent to 97.01 per euro, gaining for the sixth straight week and reaching 95.60 on Friday, the strongest level since November 2000. The Japanese currency strengthened 2.1 percent against the greenback to ¥78.02, touching ¥77.66, the strongest since Feb. 14. The euro lost 0.7 percent to US$1.2434 and fell as low as US$1.2288, a level not seen since July 2010.

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