Philippine peso, Singapore dollar lead regional gains


Sun, Sep 30, 2007 - Page 10

Asian currencies gained this quarter, led by the Philippine peso and the Singapore dollar, on speculation investors increased their holdings of emerging-market stocks and bonds.

India's rupee headed for its biggest monthly advance since April and Malaysia's ringgit rose to a two-month high on prospects the Federal Reserve will keep cutting interest rates. That may provide room for Asian central Banks to lower borrowing costs. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index of regional shares climbed 6.6 percent this quarter.

The peso rose 3.2 percent this month to 45.075 in Manila on Friday, its biggest monthly gain since July last year, Tullet Prebon Plc said.

The currency strengthened 2.5 percent this quarter, a fifth quarterly advance, the longest since June 1999 when Bloomberg began compiling the data.

Singapore's dollar rose to the strongest in a decade on speculation investors were buying shares in the island's benchmark Straits Times Index.

The Singapore dollar climbed to S$1.4880, the highest since August 1997, before trading at S$1.4894 on Friday from S$1.4922 on Thursday. It may advance to $1.4800 in coming days, Sato forecast.

The Indian rupee advanced 2.4 percent in the three months on optimism a rally in local stocks will spur investors to increase investment in the country.

The rupee may strengthen to 39 in six months, Redward forecast. The currency traded at 39.76 on Friday from 39.72 on Thursday.

Elsewhere, the ringgit had a fourth quarterly gain, the longest streak since June 1995.

It rose to 3.41 on Friday, the highest since July 25, before trading at 3.4125.

South Korea's won rounded out the biggest monthly gain since April last year. It strengthened 2.5 percent this month to 915.10.

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