Sun, Oct 01, 2017 - Page 14 News List

NT dollar rises on quarterly fund demand

STAYING THE COURSE:The US dollar was set for its largest weekly gain in a year due to rising expectations for inflation after the Fed said it would maintain its rate hike path

Staff writer, with CNA and Reuters

The New Taiwan dollar yesterday rose against the US dollar, gaining NT$0.031 to close at NT$30.305 on thin turnover as foreign traders stayed away from the trading floor for the weekend, dealers said.

Taiwan was the only foreign exchange market to open yesterday, a Saturday, to make up for a lost trading session during the Double Ten National Day holiday from Saturday next week to Oct. 10.

The US dollar lost momentum as local exporters continued to raise their holdings in the NT dollar to meet fund demand at the end of the quarter, while foreign institutional buying in local equities added more pressure on the US currency, the dealers said.

The greenback opened at NT$30.350, moving between NT$30.222 and NT$30.355 before the close, with turnover totaling US$259 million.

Soon after the market opened, the US dollar faced follow-through selling from a session earlier, and downward pressure continued as Taiwanese exporters rushed to buy into the NT dollar to meet seasonal fund demand as the third quarter approaches its end, the dealers said.

Further gains posted on the local equity market on the back of foreign institutional buying also served as a clear indication to currency traders to chase the NT dollar, they added.

Foreign institutional investors bought a net NT$322 million (US$10.63 million) of shares on the main board, sending the weighted index up 0.52 percent at yesterday’s close, Taiwan Stock Exchange data showed.

As no other regional currencies were traded yesterday, the NT dollar moved in a narrow range throughout the session without clear indications, the dealers said.

On Friday, the US dollar was little changed against a basket of major currencies after conflicting US economic data, leaving it on course for its largest weekly increase this year amid a rise in expectations for inflation and US interest rate hikes.

A one-week increase of just less than 1 percent helped the greenback post its first monthly gain against its peers since February.

Ironically, data from the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed speculators boosted net short bets on the US dollar to the most since late September 2012.

The US dollar on Friday fell to session lows after the release of a report showing US consumer spending barely rose in August.

However, that was offset by an unexpected increase in the Institute for Supply Management Chicago’s purchasing managers’ index and an in-line reading on consumer sentiment.

US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen earlier this week said that the central bank planned to stay on its current rate hike path, which suggested to investors that it would raise rates in December, with further increases to follow next year.

The Fed has raised rates twice this year.

Analysts said the week’s rally was sparked by the German election last weekend, in which the far-right Alternative for Germany won seats in the German Bundestag for the first time, leading to worries that anti-European political movements on the continent, including those in Spain and Italy, could be more worrisome than initially thought.

“Economically, the situation in the US merits the fact that the [US] dollar has gained,” said Juan Perez, currency strategist at Tempus Inc in Washington. “The political dissolution in Europe continues and now with the situation in Spain it symbolizes that there are separatist movements across the continent that cannot be ignored.”

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