Indonesia’s rupiah and India’s rupee led a drop in Asian currencies this week, as foreign funds pulled money from regional assets on speculation the US would soon start tapering stimulus.
The rupiah fell by the most since 2008, as minutes of the US Federal Reserve’s meeting last month, released on Wednesday, showed policymakers were “broadly comfortable” with reducing bond-buying this year should the US economy improve.
Thailand entered a recession in the second quarter and Malaysia’s current-account surplus shrank 70 percent, reports showed, pushing the baht and the ringgit to their weakest levels since 2010.
“Funds are flowing out from emerging markets, weighing on the regional currencies,” said Koji Fukaya, chief executive officer and foreign-exchange strategist at FPG Securities Co in Tokyo. “The contrast is becoming clearer between the US, where the economy is recovering, and slowing growth in emerging countries.”
The rupiah fell 3.7 percent this week to 10,780 per US dollar on Friday in Jakarta, according to prices from local banks. The rupee weakened 2.6 percent to 63.33, the baht slid 2.1 percent to 31.93 and the ringgit fell 0.7 percent to 3.3005.
The New Taiwan dollar slid 0.2 percent this week to NT$30.053 against the US dollar. Although the local currency rallied for the first time in four days on Friday, as gains in the equity market bolstered demand for the NT dollar, central bank intervention limited the greenback’s fall, dealers said.
The Bloomberg-JPMorgan Asia Dollar Index, which tracks the region’s 10 most active currencies excluding the yen, declined 0.6 percent to 114.63, the biggest weekly drop in two months. Global funds sold US$1.5 billion more Thai, Indonesian and Taiwanese equities than they bought in the first four days of the week, exchange data show.
Elsewhere in Asia, the Philippine peso slumped 1.4 percent to 44.263 per US dollar in two days after onshore financial markets were closed for the first three days of the week because of floods and a holiday. South Korea’s won declined 0.3 percent to 1,117 this week and China’s yuan slipped 0.1 percent to 6.1210.
The US dollar declined against the euro after purchases of new US homes unexpectedly fell by the most in more than three years last month.
The Bloomberg US Dollar Index dropped for the first time in three days after June’s new-home sales number was also revised down. The greenback still rose this week after the US Federal Open Market Committee minutes released showed most officials are comfortable with a plan to start reducing bond purchases if the economy improves. The Canadian dollar rebounded from a six-week low versus the US currency. The real surged after Brazil announced an intervention program.
The US dollar declined 0.2 percent to US$1.3383 per euro at 5pm in New York after earlier gaining 0.2 percent. The yen was little changed at ￥98.72 per US dollar after touching ￥99.15, the weakest level since Aug. 5. Japan’s currency dropped 0.2 percent to ￥132.1 per euro, extending its weekly loss to 1.6 percent.
The Bloomberg US Dollar Index, which tracks the currency against a basket of its 10 major counterparts, fell 0.2 percent to 1,026.15 after climbing 0.2 percent. It reached 1,031.37 on Friday, the highest level since Aug. 2, and gained 0.4 percent this week.