India’s rupee led an advance in Asian currencies this week after exit polls showed that the main opposition party is gaining support, while the Thai baht had the biggest loss amid anti-government protests.
The Bloomberg-JPMorgan Asia Dollar Index climbed 0.1 percent over the past five days, halting two weeks of losses.
In Taipei, the New Taiwan dollar was little changed against the greenback, ending the week at NT$29.665 compared with NT$29.679 on Nov. 29.
The US dollar fell against the NT dollar Friday, shedding NT$0.025 in thin trading as many traders stayed on the sidelines ahead of the release of a jobs report in the US later that day.
The anxiety of traders over the job data was running high after Washington reported stronger-than-expected economic growth for the third quarter on Wednesday, escalating fears that the Fed will soon taper its billion bond buying program, they said.
The central bank, as it has done recently, entered the trading floor late in the session, picking up the greenback and cutting its NT dollar holdings to help the US currency recoup most of its earlier losses, dealers said.
Downward pressure emerged as traders took cues from a move by the People’s Bank of China to raise the reference rate to a new high for the Chinese yuan in exchange for the US currency, dealers said.
Many traders suspected that the higher rate showed greater willingness by Chinese authorities to allow the yuan to trade in a wider range, which could boost the value of other regional units, they said.
The rupee appreciated 1.2 percent this week to 61.6813 per US dollar, the most since the period ended on Oct. 4, as of 2:19pm on Friday in Mumbai, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
The yuan had its biggest weekly gain in more than a month, adding 0.19 percent to 6.0817, as the People’s Bank of China set the daily fixing at the strongest level on record amid speculation steps to loosen foreign exchange rules will lure inflows.
The Chinese central bank boosted the reference rate by 0.13 percent to 6.1232 per US dollar on Friday, the strongest since a peg to the greenback ended in July 2005 and 0.15 percent higher than a week ago. The monetary authority is proposing free convertibility of the yuan in special accounts in Shanghai’s free-trade zone, according to a document published on Monday on its Web site.
The baht had a sixth weekly decline, falling 0.9 percent to 32.34 to post its longest losing streak since June, due to concern that prolonged political unrest will hurt investor sentiment.
Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea’s won was little changed this week at 1,057.90 against the greenback, while Indonesia’s rupiah was steady at 11,964, the Philippine peso lost 0.4 percent to 43.955, Malaysia’s ringgit fell 0.3 percent to 3.2337 and Vietnam’s dong weakened 0.1 percent to 21,140.
The euro rallied for a fourth week against the greenback, the longest streak since June, as European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi refrained from adding to monetary stimulus.
Europe’s 17-nation currency rallied 0.9 percent to US$1.3706 this week in New York, while the greenback rose 0.5 percent to ￥102.91, the sixth straight weekly gain and the longest streak since February. Japan’s currency fell 1.3 percent to ￥141.03 per euro.
The 17-nation currency strengthened versus most of its 16 major peers as the EU central bank’s stance outweighed labor and economic data in the US that was stronger than forecast, as traders bet the Fed will keep its benchmark interest rates unchanged even when it slows its bond-buying.
The yen fell as the head of an advisory panel called on Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund to start cutting domestic debt.
The Bloomberg US Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against 10 major counterparts, fell 0.4 percent to 1,016.87, snapping two weeks of gains.
In London, sterling fell the most in two months against the euro.
The pound lost 1 percent to ￡0.8386 per euro, the steepest decline since Oct. 4.
It reached ￡0.8253 on Monday, the strongest since Jan. 11, but fell 0.3 percent against the greenback to US$1.6324.
STEPPING UP: The firm has also asked employees to work in split shifts from this week and to halt all but essential overseas business travel from next month Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) has implemented a remote work policy for employees not on production lines in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19, the world’s largest contract chipmaker said yesterday. This is the first time in the Hsinchu-based company’s history that it has launched a large-scale remote work policy, joining global technology companies, such as Apple Inc and Google, that encourage employees to work from home. The chipmaker has also asked employees to work in split shifts from this week, it said. As the number of virus infections continues to climb worldwide, TSMC has urged employees to halt unnecessary
Manufacturers are on a mission to produce desperately needed medical ventilators for the COVID-19 pandemic, even if it means converting assembly lines now making auto parts. Along with a shortage of masks and gloves, the spread of COVID-19 to almost every corner of the globe has highlighted a great need for specialized machines that help keep severely afflicted patients alive. “As the global pandemic evolves, there is unprecedented demand for medical equipment, including ventilators,” GE Healthcare chief executive officer Kieran Murphy said. The group has hired more workers and is making ventilators around the clock. Swedish group Getinge AB is also ramping up output
Facing the rapidly evolving global COVID-19 pandemic, Citibank Taiwan Ltd (台灣花旗) has proactively taken precautionary measures. “The health and safety of our colleagues and their families, as well as our clients and the communities we serve, are of the utmost importance. We continue to take proactive measures to preserve their well-being while we maintain our ability to serve our clients,” Citibank Taiwan chairman Paulus Mok (莫兆鴻) said in a statement yesterday. “We have local and regional contingency plans in place, and we have well-established business continuity plans for the firm. We are monitoring the situation closely, adjusting our operations accordingly,
UPGRADE AND TRANSFORM: Although the cross-strait trade deal might remain, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said businesses should prepare for any disruptions Taiwan might face a decline in foreign trade with China if the cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) ends this year, Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) said yesterday. The agreement, which was signed and put into effect in 2010 to reduce trade barriers across the Taiwan Strait, is expected to end this year, despite not having an exact termination date. “We have not received notification [from China] that it wishes to terminate ECFA,” Shen told reporters prior to attending a meeting at the Legislative Yuan. “Even if we are notified, the agreement would only cease after six months.” While acknowledging the