South Korea’s won led gains in Asian currencies this week as international investors added to holdings of the region’s stocks.
The won advanced for a third week after data showed the South Korean economy expanded 1.1 percent, the most in more than two years, in the second quarter. The Bloomberg-JPMorgan Asian Dollar Index rose 0.1 percent from July 19 as global funds bought US$1.4 billion more stocks than they sold this week through Wednesday in South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand, exchange data show.
“Risk appetite has improved,” said Gundy Cahyadi, an economist at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp in Singapore. “People are coming back to this part of the region. There is still a huge growth opportunity in Asia.”
The won rose 0.9 percent this week to 1,111.33 per US dollar in Seoul, Bloomberg data showed.
The New Taiwan dollar also edged up 0.1 percent to NT$29.950 against the US dollar this week. The greenback weakened on Friday as investors took cues from the strength of other regional currencies to buy into the local unit, dealers said.
However, the US dollar’s losses were capped, as foreign institutional investors repatriated cash dividends, which raised demand for the greenback, they added.
With more listed Taiwanese companies scheduled to distribute cash dividends, fund outflows are expected to continue to lend support to the greenback, they said.
India’s rupee appreciated 0.5 percent to 59.0450 against the US dollar, completing its third weekly advance after the Reserve Bank of India took steps to tighten cash supply to increase support for the currency.
The Philippine peso also advanced 0.1 percent to 43.305. The peso had its biggest weekly gain in a month after Moody’s Investors Service on Thursday placed the nation on review for investment grade.
Elsewhere in Asia, China’s yuan rose 0.1 percent in the past five days to 6.1316 per US dollar. The Indonesian rupiah weakened 1.8 percent to 10,265, the Malaysian ringgit dropped 0.5 percent to 3.2077 and the Thai baht lost 0.3 percent to 31.13.
EURO, POUND ADVANCE
In other markets, the US dollar fell for a third week against most major peers as US economic data failed to convince investors the Fed would decide next week to reduce stimulus by slowing its bond-buying program.
The greenback dropped 2.4 percent to ￥98.21 this week in New York, the most since the five days ended June 14. The US currency declined 1 percent to US$1.3279 per euro, and touched US$1.3297, its weakest level since June 20. Europe’s shared currency weakened 1.4 percent to ￥130.42.
The Bloomberg Dollar Index fell for a third week, decreasing 1 percent to 1,022.85. The gauge monitors the greenback against 10 other major currencies.
Meanwhile, the pound advanced for a third week versus the US dollar as economic data signaling the UK recovery is strengthening boosted demand for the currency.
The pound rose 0.8 percent in the week to US$1.5381 at 5:33pm London time on Friday, after climbing to US$1.5435 on Thursday, the strongest level since June 26. However, the UK currency fell 0.3 percent to ￡0.8633 per euro after touching ￡0.8582 on Tuesday, the strongest since July 10.