Sun, Mar 02, 2014 - Page 15 News List

Euro gains most in 10 months on ECB bets, dollar declines

Bloomberg and staff writer, with CNA

The euro last month posted its biggest monthly gain since April last year, as higher-than-projected inflation spurred speculation that the European Central Bank (ECB) will refrain from opting for additional monetary stimulus at a meeting on Thursday.

By contrast, the greenback had its worst month since September last year, even after US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen reiterated in testimony to the US Senate that the Fed is likely to maintain its strategy of trimming its bond purchases gradually.

In China, the yuan decreased versus all except two of its emerging-market peers last month as the People’s Bank of China considers doubling the size of the currency’s trading band versus the US dollar.

The 18-nation euro added 2.3 percent against the greenback last month to US$1.3802 and gained 2.1 percent to ¥140.49, as the greenback fell 0.2 percent to ¥101.80.

The euro rose to its year high versus the US currency on Friday as consumer prices in the region grew at the same 0.8 percent annual pace as it did the previous two months, according to the EU statistics office in Luxembourg.

China’s currency depreciated 1.4 percent to 6.1450 per US dollar last month, according to China Foreign Exchange Trade System prices. The yuan fell as much as 0.9 percent to 6.1808 on Friday.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, which tracks the greenback against 10 major currencies, dropped 1.4 percent last month in its biggest monthly slide since September last year. The index is down 0.3 percent so far this year after rising 3.1 percent last year.

Currencies for commodity-linked nations were among the biggest major currency gainers last month, which saw the Norwegian krone rise the most, followed by the New Zealand dollar.

Twenty seven of the 31 major currencies gained versus the greenback this month, led by Indonesian rupiah’s 5.2 percent, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

In Taipei, the New Taiwan dollar appreciated 0.1 percent last month to NT$30.355 against its US counterpart, according to prices from Taipei Forex Inc.

It was little changed on Thursday, gaining NT$0.005 to end at NT$30.355, after losing 0.2 percent in the last 19 minutes of trading amid suspected central bank intervention. The monetary authority has sold the currency in the run-up to the close on most days since March 2012, traders said.

The central bank’s buying in the US dollar offset the impact of selling by local exporters whose fund demands were on the rise as the current month approached its end, the dealers said.

Demand for the NT dollar was seasonal, with exporters tending to make their monthly payments, such as staff salaries, as the month comes to an end, they said.

The Taiwanese markets were closed on Friday due to a holiday.

In London, the pound advanced against the greenback as data showed a surge in business investment helped the British economy grow for a fourth straight quarter.

Sterling rose versus the euro this week as Bank of England policymakers expressed little concern that the currency’s strength would harm the economy.

The pound rose 0.8 percent this week to US$1.6745 after reaching US$1.6769, the highest since Feb. 17, and appreciated 0.3 percent to £0.8244 per euro.

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