Sun, Apr 06, 2014 - Page 15 News List

NT dollar, won rise on capital inflows; euro, yen remain weak for third week

Bloomberg and staff writer with CNA

The New Taiwan dollar and South Korean won gained the most in at least seven months this week amid capital inflows, while the Indian rupee retreated after the biggest quarterly advance since 2012.

South Korea’s current-account surplus widened, data showed this week, while China outlined a package of measures, including tax relief, to boost the region’s biggest economy. Global funds bought a net US$2.8 billion of Taiwanese and South Korean stocks this week, according to the latest exchange figures.

“At a time when investors are worried about capital outflows, currencies of economies with healthier external positions can fare relatively well,” said Frances Cheung (張淑嫻), head of Asian rates strategy at Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong. “That includes the [South] Korean won and the Taiwanese dollar.”

The NT dollar rose 0.6 percent from March 28 to NT$30.38 per US dollar on Thursday, the most since August. Markets were closed for a holiday on Friday.

On Thursday, the NT dollar slid NT$0.005 after the central bank continued its efforts to prop up the greenback in a bid to slow down the pace of the local currency’s appreciation, dealers said.

The central bank’s intervention stopped an eight-session rise of the NT dollar, they added.

The won appreciated 1.5 percent from March 28 to 1,053.65 per US dollar in Seoul, the biggest five-day gain since Sept. 6, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Bloomberg JPMorgan-Asia Dollar Index, which tracks the region’s 10 most-active currencies, gained 0.2 percent from a week ago and touched 115.72 on Thursday, the highest level since March 7.

In Shanghai, the yuan slipped 0.03 percent on Friday to 6.2123 against the US dollar, China Foreign Exchange Trading System prices showed. It was little changed for the week.

In Mumbai, the rupee retreated from an eight-month high as a technical indicator suggested its recent rally had been excessive and on speculation the central bank would slow gains that may hurt exports. It touched 59.60 per US dollar on Wednesday, the highest since July 30, and fell 0.3 percent this week to 60.085.

Elsewhere in the region, Indonesia’s rupiah advanced 0.4 percent to 11,317 per US dollar and Vietnam’s dong rose 0.1 percent to 21,093. Thailand’s baht was little changed at 32.505, while Malaysia’s ringgit lost 0.2 percent to 3.2802 and the Philippine peso weakened 0.2 percent to 44.960.

Meanwhile, the US dollar rose against the euro for a third week, the longest rally since July, as policy divergence with Europe outweighed conflicting commentary by US officials and jobs data that failed to meet traders’ expectations.

The shared currency fell versus most of its 16 major peers as European Central Bank President Mario Draghi suggested willingness to use bond buying to boost inflation.

The US currency gained against Japan’s even as Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis President James Bullard signaled slowing inflation might prompt policymakers to suspend tapering of debt purchases.

The US dollar gained 0.3 percent to US$1.3705 per euro this week in New York, touching US$1.3673, its strongest level since Feb. 27.

The greenback also rallied 0.5 percent to ¥103.29, a third-straight weekly gain and the longest streak since a nine-week rally ending in December. The euro added 0.1 percent to ¥141.54, for a third weekly advance.

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