Sun, Jan 13, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Japan policy lifts Asian currencies

GROWTH TRACK:Strong Chinese exports last month also lent support to the region’s currencies. The euro also advanced as the ECB president talked of a recovery

Bloomberg and CNA, TAIPEI

Asian currencies completed a third weekly advance as Japan’s ¥10.3 trillion (US$116 billion) stimulus spending and a rebound in China’s exports improved the outlook for a global economic recovery.

The Bloomberg-JPMorgan Asia Dollar Index rose to a 16-month high as overseas sales from Taiwan, China and Malaysia grew more than analysts forecast, according to official figures released this week. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s fiscal package will increase GDP by about 2 percentage points and create about 600,000 jobs, according to a statement released by Japan’s Cabinet Office on Friday.

“The global outlook is continuing to improve and we remain constructive on emerging markets for the year as external risks diminish,” said Dariusz Kowalczyk, a senior strategist at Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong. “The mood was boosted by the Japanese fiscal stimulus plan. We expect most regional currencies to do well.”

In Taipei, the New Taiwan dollar ended the week up 0.3 percent against the greenback at NT$29.039. Although the local currency breached the NT$29 mark in midday trading on Thursday and Friday, central bank intervention helped the US dollar recoup most of the losses, dealers said.

Before the central bank’s intervention, the US dollar was on a downward trend as local traders took their cues from the strength of other regional currencies such as the Chinese yuan and the South Korean won, dealers said.

The rising yuan, which gained 0.23 percent to 6.2161 against the greenback this week, reflected optimism toward China’s economy after Beijing reported a 14.1 percent annual increase in exports last month, the most significant growth since May, they said.

“China trade numbers are fueling optimism global growth is picking up,” said Roy Teo, a currency strategist in Singapore at ABN Amro Bank NV. “There is new optimism and new money coming into financial markets. Risk-on may persist till the end of the month.”

Malaysia’s ringgit rose 1 percent in the past five days to 3.0218 per US dollar in Kuala Lumpur, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. South Korea’s won appreciated 0.9 percent to 1,054.69, Thailand’s baht gained 0.8 percent to 30.27, and the Philippine peso rose 0.7 percent to 40.605.

India’s rupee also strengthened 0.7 percent this week to 54.6825 per US dollar, and Indonesia’s rupiah rose 0.3 percent to 9,636.

The Asia Dollar Index, which tracks the region’s 10 most-active currencies excluding the yen, rose 0.28 percent this week. The gauge touched 118.70 on Friday, the strongest level since September 2011.

The yen slid versus the US dollar in its longest weekly losing streak in almost a quarter-century on speculation Japanese policymakers were preparing measures to stimulate the economy that may debase the currency.

Meanwhile, the euro climbed against all of its 16 most-traded peers as European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the region’s economy should gradually recover.

“The overall trend remains a downward one for the Japanese currency,” Joe Manimbo, a market analyst in Washington at Western Union Business Solutions, said in a telephone interview. “The key to the outlook for the yen is going to be whether or not the Bank of Japan takes that aggressive stance that the market anticipates and to see how successful the government is at stimulating.”

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