Sun, Jun 09, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Asian currencies break four-week losing streak

Bloomberg

Asian currencies advanced this week to snap a four-week slump as US economic data that trailed estimates tempered concern that the US Federal Reserve will cut asset purchases that have boosted US dollar supplies.

The Bloomberg-JPMorgan Asia Dollar Index of 10 regional currencies climbed 0.2 percent to 116.98, the biggest five-day advance since May 3. Manufacturing in the world’s largest economy unexpectedly shrank last month and gains in factory orders missed forecasts, figures released this week showed.

Non-farm payrolls rose 175,000 last month from a revised 149,000 increase in April that was smaller than first estimated, US Department of Labor figures showed on Friday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey called for a gain of 163,000.

“The strong [US] dollar dwindled a bit as investors are waiting for the US jobs data to determine the Fed’s exit strategy,” Woori Futures Co analyst Son Eun-jeong said in Seoul.

The New Taiwan dollar bucked the regional trend as it completed its best week in nine months on speculation that the Fed will hold off reducing asset purchases that have spurred fund flows to emerging markets. The currency jumped 0.6 percent this week to NT$29.871, compared with NT$30.060 on May 31, the most since the five days ended on Sept. 14 last year.

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

The won gained 1.1 percent this week to 1,116.79 per US dollar as the yen appreciated, making South Korean goods cheaper versus those of Japanese rivals in global markets. The won lost 2.9 percent in the preceding four weeks, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.

Malaysia’s ringgit was little changed at 3.0985 per US dollar for the week. It dropped 0.5 percent on Friday as the Malaysian Ministry of Trade said overseas shipments contracted 3.3 percent in April.

In Bangkok, the baht fell for a seventh week, losing 1 percent to 30.60 per US dollar. Foreign investors were net sellers of US$568 million of local equities this week through Thursday, data showed.

India’s rupee weakened for a fifth week, falling 1 percent to 57.065 per US dollar. The currency depreciated beyond 57 for the first time since June last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Elsewhere, China’s yuan was little changed this week at 6.1335 per US dollar, Indonesia’s rupiah dropped 0.1 percent to 9,805, and the Philippine peso and Vietnam’s dong were steady at 42.26 and 21,016 respectively.

The yen rallied the most in almost four years against the US dollar as mounting speculation about the Fed’s stimulus plans sparked volatile trading and spurred investors to unwind bearish bets.

The yen appreciated 2.9 percent to ¥97.56 per US dollar this week in New York, the biggest gain since the five days ended on July 10, 2009. It touched ¥94.99 on Friday, the strongest since April 4.

The yen rose 1.3 percent to ¥128.96 per euro this week and reached the highest level since April 16, as the shared currency gained 1.7 percent to US$1.3218.

The yen has fallen 9 percent this year, the worst performer among 10 developed-market currencies tracked by Bloomberg Correlation-Weighted Indexes. The euro has advanced 4 percent in the biggest increase, while the greenback has climbed 3.8 percent.

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