Sun, Aug 31, 2014 - Page 15 News List

Asia ex-Japan currencies gain; euro, yen retreat

Bloomberg

Moneychangers sit on stools on Friday while waiting for customers on a street in Lima’s Chinatown.

Photo: Reuters

The Philippine peso led this week’s gains in Asian currencies after the nation’s economic growth beat forecasts.

The Bloomberg JPMorgan Asia Dollar Index, which tracks the region’s 10 most-active currencies outside Japan, rose 0.2 percent from Aug. 22.

The peso climbed 0.6 percent to 43.597 against the US dollar in Manila on Friday, following reports that the Philippine economy grew 6.4 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, topping the median estimate for a 6.1 percent gain in a Bloomberg survey.

“Asian currencies have been doing well because of superior growth and solid external positions,” said Dariusz Kowalczyk, a Hong Kong-based strategist at Credit Agricole CIB.

“We are well positioned to outperform other emerging markets,” he said, adding that he expects the currencies of China, Taiwan, Philippines and Malaysia to rise in the second half.

The New Taiwan dollar strengthened 0.2 percent for the week to NT$29.97 against the greenback in Taipei.

On Friday, however, the US dollar advanced against the local currency, gaining NT$0.005 from Thursday to close at the day’s high of NT$29.970, as the greenback recouped its earlier losses because of central bank intervention, dealers said.

The central bank’s presence offset the impact from rising demand for the NT dollar from local exporters to meet their funding needs as the month came to an end. The bank’s buying also fended off selling in the US dollar driven by foreign institutional buying in the local bourse, they said.

South Korea’s won added 0.4 percent to 1,013.88 per US dollar this week, taking gains for this month to 1.37 percent. The Bank of Korea reported a US$7.91 billion current-account surplus for last month.

The ringgit climbed 0.3 percent this week to 3.1520 and gained 1.39 percent this month, the best performance among 24 emerging-market exchange rates tracked by Bloomberg. The Malaysian currency completed its longest run of monthly gains since 2012 on bets the central bank will raise interest rates next month.

The yuan rose 0.16 percent from Aug. 22 to 6.1432 per US dollar in Shanghai, China Foreign Exchange Trade System prices show, taking its monthly gains to 0.5 percent on optimism about capital inflows.

The iShares China Large-Cap ETF, the largest Chinese exchange-traded fund in the US, attracted a net US$518 million this month, putting it on track for the biggest monthly inflow since December 2012. The official purchasing managers index for manufacturing was at 51.1 for this month, from 51.7 in the previous month, according to a median estimate before data due tomorrow.

Elsewhere in Asia, India’s rupee fell 0.1 percent to 60.515 on Thursday, while Indonesia’s currency declined 0.1 percent to 11,694. Thailand’s baht and Vietnam’s dong were steady this week at 31.94 and 21,195 respectively. Financial markets in India were closed on Friday for a public holiday.

GREENBACK ADVANCES

A US dollar gauge rallied for a second straight month, the first time that has happened in more than a year, on speculation the US Federal Reserve is moving closer to raising interest rates in contrast with stimulative policies in Europe and Japan.

The 18-nation euro fell to the weakest level in almost a year versus the US dollar as a report showed inflation in the region slowed this month to 0.3 percent from a year earlier after a 0.4 percent increase last month, the EU’s statistic office in Luxembourg said on Friday. That is the weakest rate since October 2009.

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