Sun, Oct 21, 2012 - Page 15 News List

Asia currencies advance, led by golden won


South Korea’s won led a weekly advance in Asian currencies as signs of an improvement in the global economy brightened the outlook for the region’s exports and spurred demand for emerging market assets.

The Bloomberg-JPMorgan Asia Dollar Index, which tracks the region’s most active currencies, rose 0.2 percent this week and touched 117.87 Friday, the highest level since February. The won completed its best week of the month and the yuan had an 11th week of gains, the longest winning streak since March 2008. India’s rupee fell for a second week as the government reported this year’s fastest inflation.

China’s factory production, retail sales and fixed-asset investment accelerated last month, data showed Friday. Retail sales in the US, the world’s biggest economy, increased 1.1 percent last month while housing starts climbed 15 percent to a four-year high, reports showed this week.

Taiwan’s dollar climbed 0.3 percent from a week ago to NT$29.286, while the won appreciated 0.7 percent this week to 1,103.45 per US dollar in Seoul, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The yuan rose 0.22 percent from Oct. 12 to 6.2535 after touching a 19-year high of 6.2446 Friday.

The won touched 1,102.50 on Wednesday, the strongest level since Oct. 31 last year. South Korea’s economy probably expanded 1.7 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, the least in three years, a Bloomberg survey showed before data next week.

The yuan has extended its rebound from this year’s low of 6.3967 on July 25 to 2.3 percent after data pointed to an improvement in the world’s second-largest economy.

“We believe China’s economy has bottomed out in August or September,” said Tommy Ong (王良亨), a Hong Kong-based senior vice-president of treasury and markets at DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Ltd.

The rupee lost 1.9 percent from Oct. 12 to close at 53.835 per US dollar amid concern faster inflation will erode returns from local assets. India.

Elsewhere, the Malaysian ringgit rose 0.2 percent this week to 3.0495 per dollar. Indonesia’s rupiah fell 0.1 percent to 9,595 from last week’s 9,588, prices from local banks compiled by Bloomberg show. The currency reached 9,657 on Oct. 11, the weakest level since October 2009. The Philippines peso appreciated 0.1 percent to 41.385. Vietnam’s dong climbed 0.1 percent from a week ago to 20,843.

The yen fell the most in nine weeks versus the US dollar as speculation the Bank of Japan will boost monetary stimulus sapped demand for the nation’s assets as a haven.

The Japanese currency weakened versus all but one of its 16 most-traded counterparts on the better-than-expected US figures. The yen depreciated 1.1 percent to ¥79.32 against the US dollar this week, reaching ¥79.47, its lowest level since Aug. 21. The Japanese currency decreased 1.6 percent to ¥103.28 per euro after touching ¥104.14, its most depressed level since May 8. The euro added 0.6 percent to US$1.3024.

The euro declined against the US dollar Friday after Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said his nation does not feel any pressure to ask for a bailout, fueling concern the crisis will be prolonged.

The Dollar Index, which measures the currency against the euro, yen, pound, Swiss franc, Canadian dollar and Swedish krona, ended the week little changed at 79.626, after touching the lowest level since Sept. 18.

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