Sun, Mar 17, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Asian currencies fall on Japan speculation, led by won

Bloomberg and Staff writer, with CNA

The won led losses in Asian currencies this week after the Bank of Korea signaled its concern that economic growth is slowing amid speculation Japan will add to measures that weaken the yen.

South Korea’s currency had its biggest weekly decline in six weeks after the central bank left interest rates on Thursday and officials said the value of the yen, which has lost 9.8 percent against the US dollar this year, poses a threat to the economy.

“A number of factors are impacting the won: The first is the hit to Korean sentiment on the back of ongoing yen weakness and the second factor is the possibility of a rate cut spooking the markets,” Barclays PLC strategist Nick Verdi said in Singapore.

The won fell 1.8 percent this week to 1,110.95 per US dollar in Seoul, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Malaysia’s ringgit declined 0.8 percent to 3.1304 and Indonesia’s rupiah dropped 0.2 percent to 9,705.

In Taipei, the New Taiwan dollar rose 0.1 percent on Friday to NT$29.762 against its US counterpart, paring its weekly loss to 0.2 percent as exporters shifted to the buy side for the currency after the unit’s decline a day earlier to take advantage of a more favorable exchange rate, dealers said. It touched NT$29.81 on Monday, the weakest since Sept. 10 last year.

The central bank intervened again to prop up the greenback, helping the currency recoup some of its earlier losses in a bid to slow the pace of the NT dollar’s appreciation and boost the country’s global competitiveness, the dealers said.

Traders forecast that the central bank will continue its efforts to keep the Taiwan dollar cheaper, on expectations that the Bank of Japan will keep pumping funds into the market to lower the value of the yen, which could increase a currency depreciation competition in the region, the dealers said.

Concerns over a regional currency depreciation war have been running deeper, in particular after the new appointments to the Japanese central bank.

Elsewhere in Asia, the Philippine peso rose 0.2 percent to 40.607 and China’s yuan was steady this week at 6.2135 against the greenback, Bloomberg figures show. India’s rupee climbed 0.5 percent to 54.0250 and Thailand’s baht rose 0.6 percent to 29.53.

The Bloomberg JPMorgan-Asian Dollar Index lost 0.1 percent in the past five days, the most since the period through Feb. 8.

The US dollar halted a five-week rally against the euro that was backed by signals of a strengthening economy, as bullish momentum waned and a report on Friday showed that this month’s consumer sentiment was trailing forecasts.

The pound climbed the most since June against the US dollar this week as Bank of England Governor Mervyn King said policymakers are not trying to talk it down.

Sterling strengthened the most against the euro since the week ended on Feb. 8.

The pound advanced 1.3 percent in the week to US$1.5124 as of 5:03pm London time on Friday. It dropped to US$1.4832 on March 12, the weakest level since June 2010. Sterling strengthened 0.9 percent to £86.34 per euro.

The pound has dropped 5.3 percent this year, the second-worst performer after the yen among 10 developed market currencies tracked by Bloomberg Correlation-Weighted Indexes.

The US dollar depreciated 0.6 percent this week to US$1.3067 per euro in New York, touching the weakest level since Dec. 10 last year. The greenback fell 0.8 percent to ¥95.28, as the yen increased 0.2 percent to ¥124.58 per euro.

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