Sun, Sep 15, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Rupee leads Asian peers in best week since July

GOOD BAD NEWS:As US payrolls missed forecasts and gains edged down, regional anxiety over Fed stimulus tapering cooled, giving currencies a boost

Bloomberg and Staff writer, with CNA

Asian currencies had their best week in two months, led by India’s rupee, after US jobs data tempered speculation that the US Federal Reserve will cut the stimulus that has buoyed emerging markets.

Payrolls in the world’s largest economy climbed less than economists projected last month and gains for the previous two months were revised down, a Sept. 6 report showed, ahead of a Fed meeting that will discuss the US$85 billion monthly debt purchase program.

The Bloomberg-JPMorgan Asia Dollar Index rose 0.5 percent this week to 115.26, the most since the period ended on July 12. Global funds pumped US$5.7 billion into the stock markets of Taiwan, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea and Thailand this week, according to exchange data.

In Taipei, where markets were open yesterday, the New Taiwan dollar climbed 0.5 percent in the week ending on Friday to NT$29.84, from NT$29.90 on Sept. 6. The currency was virtually unchanged in yesterday’s session.

It was the NT dollar’s third week of gains — its longest winning streak since May — as overseas funds boosted holdings of local stocks amid a current-account surplus.

The Taipei Foreign Exchange Market was the only foreign exchange market to trade yesterday, to make up for lost trading sessions during next week’s Mid-Autumn Festival holiday.

The greenback opened at NT$29.84 yesterday and moved to a low of NT$29.670 before rebounding. Turnover totaled US$271 million during the trading session.

As it has done in recent sessions, the central bank intervened again to prop up the US dollar and helped the currency reverse its earlier losses against the NT dollar at a time when many local business leaders have been urging the bank to bring down the value of the local currency for export growth, dealers said.

Ahead of the central bank’s intervention, the US dollar continued its downtrend against its Taiwanese counterpart as traders took cues from further foreign institutional buying in the bourse, which lifted demand for the local unit, the dealers added.

Elsewhere, the rupee rallied 2.8 percent to 63.4950 per US dollar, Thailand’s baht rose 1.2 percent to 31.850, the Philippine peso added 1.4 percent to 43.87 and Malaysia’s ringgit gained 1.2 percent to 3.29.

The rupee, which touched a record-low of 68.845 per US dollar on Aug. 28, completed its best week since October 2009, while the baht had its biggest weekly gain in five months after global funds increased holdings of the nation’s assets.

The peso posted its largest five-day rally since June last year after Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas held its benchmark rate at a record low of 3.5 percent on Thursday.

South Korea’s won strengthened 0.6 percent to 1,086.88, China’s yuan was little changed at 6.1188, Vietnam’s dong climbed 0.2 percent to 21,115 and Indonesia’s rupiah dropped for a fifth week, falling 2.1 percent to 11,410.

The US dollar fell versus all its 16 most-traded peers except the yen this week, as the British pound touched its highest level in more than seven months on speculation that the UK’s economic recovery is quickening.

The Bloomberg US Dollar Index, which tracks the performance of a basket of 10 leading global currencies against the greenback, fell 0.7 percent this week to 1,023.95 in New York, the biggest decline since the period ending on Aug. 9.

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