Sun, Mar 03, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Regional optimism bolsters gains in Asian currencies


Asian currencies gained this week, led by Indonesia’s rupiah and the Thai baht, on optimism the region’s economies are improving.

The baht strengthened 0.3 percent this week to 29.77 per dollar, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The rupiah climbed 0.3 percent to 9,678 and the ringgit advanced 0.1 percent to 3.0995.

The Bloomberg-JPMorgan Asia Dollar Index, which tracks the 10 most-active Asian currencies excluding the yen, was little changed.

In Taiwan, the US dollar fell against the local currency on Friday, shedding NT$0.039 to close at NT$29.666 after foreign funds flowed into the foreign exchange market, dealers said.

The strength of the New Taiwan dollar also reflected strong foreign institutional buying in the local bourse on Friday, they said.

The greenback opened at the day’s high of 29.705, then moved to an early low of NT$29.594 before rebounding.

For the week, the NT dollar was little changed from last week at NT$29.666 against the greenback, according to prices from Taipei Forex Inc.

Global markets were on edge during the week as the US Senate rejected a pair of partisan proposals on Thursday to replace US$85 billion in automatic spending cuts that began yesterday.

The cuts will hurt global growth, according to the IMF. Italy had inconclusive election results this week, spurring concern Europe’s debt crisis will worsen.

China’s manufacturing slowed for a second month, with the Purchasing Managers’ Index at 50.1 last month, the National Bureau of Statistics and China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said yesterday in Beijing.

That compares with the 50.5 median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 31 analysts and 50.4 in January. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

The Chinese yuan appreciated 0.2 percent to 6.2237 per US dollar this week.

The baht had a second weekly advance as data showed overseas funds increased holdings of the nation’s debt. International investors bought US$2.7 billion more sovereign notes than they sold last month, according to figures from the Thai Bond Market Association.

The rupiah had the first week of gains since the five days ended on Feb. 8. Foreign funds bought US$255 million more local stocks than they sold this week through Thursday, driving the Jakarta Composite Index of shares to an all-time high yesterday.

The economy may expand 6.3 percent this year, compared with 6.2 percent last year, according to a Bloomberg survey.

The Philippine peso closed the week at 40.688 per US dollar, versus 40.685 on Feb. 22.

India’s rupee weakened 1.3 percent from a week ago to 54.9050 per dollar after the government announced on Thursday an increase in annual spending.

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