Sun, Aug 19, 2012 - Page 15 News List

Asian currencies decline as Chinese imports slow


Asian currencies had their first weekly drop in more than a month on concern regional exports would falter as China refrains from adding to measures that support growth in the region’s biggest economy.

The Bloomberg-JPMorgan Asia Dollar Index lost 0.3 percent in the past five days after data showed China’s imports last month rose the least in three months. Taiwan, India, South Korea and Indonesia all reported this month that their overseas shipments fell.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) said there’s “growing room for monetary-policy operations,” during a visit to Zhejiang Province, Chinese state television reported this week. The yuan weakened 1 percent this year.

“There was disappointment that China didn’t do a stimulus,” said Vishnu Varathan, an economist at Mizuho Corporate Bank in Singapore. “There’s also a sense China wouldn’t allow a fast pace of appreciation with its currency, which means Asian currencies have less room to rise.”

The New Taiwan dollar slid 0.03 percent this week to 30.025 per US dollar in Taipei, partly due to central bank intervention, dealers said. The bank’s continued support for the greenback showed its determination to boost Taiwan’s global competitiveness after exports last month fell 11.6 percent year on year, they said.

The Philippine peso weakened 1.3 percent this week to 42.420 per US dollar in Manila, according to Tullett Prebon PLC. India’s rupee slid 0.8 percent to 55.7450, Malaysia’s ringgit fell 0.4 percent to 3.1323 and South Korea’s won lost 0.3 percent to 1,134.25. The yuan was little changed at 6.3585.

The People’s Bank of China lowered the yuan’s reference rate to 6.3495 per dollar on Friday, the weakest level since Nov. 29. Yuan positions at Chinese lenders accumulated from foreign-exchange purchases stood at 25.658 trillion yuan at the end of last month, down from 25.661 trillion yuan in June, bank data showed on Tuesday.

Chinese exports grew 1 percent last month from a year earlier, the smallest gain since a decline in January, figures released on Friday last week showed, spurring speculation the government would act to revive growth.

The Philippine peso completed its biggest weekly slide since May as central bank Governor Amando Tetangco said on Tuesday a slowdown in China’s economy may hurt overseas sales. China is the Philippines’ largest export market after Japan and the US.

The peso touched 42.43 per dollar on Friday, the weakest level since June 29, after growth in remittances slowed. The peso has gained 3.3 percent this year, the second-best performance among Asia’s 11 most-active currencies.

The rupee touched a two-week low after Indian Director-General of Foreign Trade Anup Pujari said on Tuesday that merchandise shipments from India declined 14.8 percent to US$22.4 billion last month, leaving a trade deficit of US$15.5 billion. The currency completed the biggest weekly drop since June this week.

Thailand’s baht completed a weekly loss as official figures next week will probably show exports fell for a second month last month amid Europe’s debt crisis, according to a Bloomberg News survey of economists.

The baht has dropped 0.1 percent since Aug. 10 to 31.52 per US dollar.

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