Sun, May 18, 2014 - Page 15 News List

Asian currencies climb a third week as rupee soars


India’s rupee and Indonesia’s rupiah led a third weekly advance in Asian currencies on speculation that political developments in the two nations will spur investment.

The rupee had the biggest weekly gain since September last year after results showed that the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies won or were leading in about 340 of 543 seats up for grabs — more than the 272 needed for a majority — while Rahul Gandhi, who led the ruling Indian National Congress party’s campaign, conceded defeat.

In Taipei, the New Taiwan dollar slipped 0.1 percent to NT$30.208 this week, compared with NT$30.175 on May 9.

On Friday, the greenback rose against the NT dollar, gaining NT$0.005 to close at NT$30.208 after moving in a narrow range on thin turnover, dealers said.

With the weekend approaching, many traders tended to stay on the sidelines, which kept the session quiet, the dealers said.

The central bank entered the market again to prop up the US dollar, helping the currency recoup earlier losses caused by the strength of other regional currencies and further foreign institutional buying in the local bourse, they added.

Traders were encouraged by gains posted by other regional currencies such as the Japanese yen and the South Korean won to pick up the NT dollar, the dealers said.

The Bloomberg-JPMorgan Asia Dollar Index, which tracks the region’s 10 most active currencies bar the yen, rose 0.29 percent from May 9 to 116.08 in Hong Kong.

In New Delhi, the rupee rose 2.1 percent this week to 58.78 per US dollar after touching an 11- month high of 58.62 on Friday, while the rupiah appreciated 1 percent to 11,415 this week in its biggest fiveday rally since March.

“Counting shows the BJP is poised for a majority win, which has boosted the rupee,” said Manis Thanawala, a director at Greenback Forex Services Pvt in Mumbai.

In Indonesia, presidential frontrunner and Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo’s Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) won the largest share of votes in an April 9 parliamentary poll and formed a three-party coalition this week before the presidential election on July 9.

Former Indonesian vice president Jusuf Kalla from the Golkar party is among those being considered to be Widodo’s running mate, PDI-P official Puan Maharani said in Jakarta on Wednesday.

“It looks like if Golkar does formally join, there will be a four-party coalition that commands more than half of the parliamentary seats,”

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp economist Wellian Wiranto said.

“That’s obviously a majority that will help ease political bickering.” China’s yuan slipped 0.09 percent this week to 6.2334 per US dollar as data showed growth in industrial output and retail sales slowed last month, while Malaysia’s ringgit halted two weeks of appreciation — declining 0.2 percent from May 9 to 3.2335 — amid concern that slower expansion in China would hurt regional growth.

Elsewhere in Asia, Thailand’s baht snapped a three-week drop, rising 0.4 percent to 32.5 per US dollar, while the Philippine peso fell 0.2 percent to 43.760, South Korea’s won was little changed at 1,024.16 and Vietnam’s dong lost 0.3 percent to 21,165.

Also this week, the euro had its biggest two-week decline against the greenback since November last year as increased concern that the EU’s economy is struggling to accelerate sparked selloffs in bonds issued by Greece and Portugal.

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