Sun, May 12, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Asian currencies fall as yen hits record-low level


Asian currencies completed their first weekly loss in more than a month on speculation that the yen’s slide to beyond ¥101 per US dollar will prompt some regional policymakers to weaken their exchange rates to protect exports.

The Bloomberg-JPMorgan Asia Dollar Index lost 0.3 percent since May 3, the first decline since the period ended on April 5, and dropped by the most in nine months on Thursday.

The Bank of Japan’s stimulus measures to fight deflation have contributed to a 15 percent drop in the yen against the US dollar this year, threatening the exports of nations that compete with Japan.

The yen slumped 2.7 percent for the week versus the US dollar to ¥101.62. Japan’s currency slid 1.7 percent percent to ¥132 per euro after reaching ¥132.26, the least since January 2010. The euro dropped 1 percent to US$1.2989.

The yen has dropped 5.2 percent against the greenback since April 4 when Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda exceeded economists’ forecasts by pledging to double monthly bond purchases and buy longer-term debt to reach a 2 percent annual inflation goal.

“With the yen’s weakness, there’s generally downward pressure on regional currencies,” said Yuji Kameoka, chief currency strategist at Daiwa Securities Co in Tokyo.

The New Taiwan dollar declined 0.6 percent this week to NT$29.8 against its US counterpart, the most since January, after a report showed exports weakened, fueling concern that the central bank will curb currency appreciation to protect local manufacturers.

The currency ended a three-week rally as stocks retreated from their highest level since August 2011 and has declined 0.6 percent since May 3.

The central bank has sold its currency in the run-up to the close on most days in the past year, according to traders who asked not to be identified.

The South Korean won dropped 0.8 percent this week to 1,106.39 per US dollar, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The currency fell 1.4 percent on Friday. India’s rupee lost 1.6 percent to 54.80 and the Philippine peso weakened 0.6 percent to 41.13, while Thailand’s baht lost 0.2 percent to 29.75, falling 1.2 percent on Friday.

The Bank of Japan’s aggressive monetary easing has a big impact on South Korea, Bank of Korea Governor Kim Choong-soo said at a briefing on Thursday after his bank unexpectedly cut its benchmark seven-day repurchase rate by a quarter percentage point to 2.5 percent. The won has risen 13 percent against the yen this year and lost 3.8 percent against the US dollar.

“Speculation is rising that authorities may intervene in the market to protect the won,” Woori Bank Co’s Choi Sung-hyun said in Seoul.

The baht fell for a second day on Friday as Thai Minister of Finance Kittiratt Na-Ranong said the Bank of Thailand should reduce its benchmark rate by more than a quarter of a percentage point or implement capital controls.

In Shanghai, the yuan fell 0.18 percent to 6.1417 per US dollar, paring this week’s gain to 0.23 percent.

Elsewhere, Indonesia’s rupiah was little changed at 9,734, while Malaysia’s ringgit rose 1.4 percent to 2.993 after Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s ruling National Front coalition prevailed at elections last weekend. Vietnam’s dong was steady at 20,935.

The US dollar had its biggest rally since February as signs of labor market strength suggested the US Federal Reserve may reduce stimulus sooner than its peers.

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