NT dollar bucks trend as rupiah leads Asian loss

Bloomberg and CNA, with Staff writer

Sun, Sep 02, 2012 - Page 15

Indonesia’s rupiah led monthly declines among Asian currencies as data signaled the region’s economies are being hurt by Europe’s debt crisis.

The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index of stocks lost 0.9 percent since July as official figures showed exports from Taiwan, India, Indonesia and South Korea fell. The Philippines on Thursday reported slower second-quarter growth and Taiwan reduced its growth forecast for this year to 1.66 percent from 2.08 percent on Aug. 17.

“Concern about Europe is lingering in the market and is continuing to weigh on stocks and emerging-market currencies,” said Tsutomu Soma, manager of investment trust and fixed-income business unit at Rakuten Securities Inc. “The export environment is quite weak.”

Indonesia’s rupiah fell 1.5 percent in August to 9,581 per dollar in Jakarta, according to prices from local banks compiled by Bloomberg. The Philippine peso weakened 0.8 percent to 42.085 and Singapore’s dollar dropped 0.4 percent to S$1.2487. South Korea’s won declined 0.4 percent to 1,134.63.

The Bloomberg-JPMorgan Asia Dollar Index was little changed from July 31, following a two-month advance. Its 60-day historical volatility was 3.41 percent, compared with 3.83 percent a month ago. Data released yesterday showed industrial production shrank 1.6 percent in July from the previous month in South Korea and contracted 1.2 percent in Japan.

China’s yuan had a monthly gain on bets policymakers will act to revive the economy. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) last week urged extra measures to support exports.

The yuan strengthened 0.2 percent to 6.3484 per dollar in Shanghai from July 31, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trade System. The central bank weakened the currency’s reference rate to 6.3449 on Friday versus 6.3320 at the end of July. The currency is allowed to trade as much as 1 percent on either side of the daily fixing.

The New Taiwan dollar rose 0.2 percent to NT$29.966 since July, reversing a three-month slide.

The NT dollar completed its first monthly gain since April as global investors poured funds into Taiwan’s stocks on optimism China will unveil stimulus measures to counter an economic slowdown.

Global funds bought US$3 billion more Taiwanese stocks than they sold last month, the biggest monthly net purchases since April last year, according to exchange data.

Elsewhere, India’s rupee gained 0.2 percent since July to 55.5275 per dollar. Malaysia’s ringgit declined 0.3 percent in August to 3.1273 per dollar through Aug. 30 before local markets closed on Friday for a holiday. Thailand’s baht lost 0.4 percent to 31.35 this week, paring its monthly advance to 0.5 percent.

The euro rose versus the greenback for a third week, the longest stretch since March. The dollar declined versus the yen as reports showed US business activity expanded more slowly this month. A US Department of Labor report on Sept. 7 is forecast to show the US added fewer jobs last month.

The US dollar fell 0.5 percent to US$1.2579 per euro last week in New York, after losing 1.4 percent in the five days ended Aug. 24. The yen was little changed at ¥98.46 per euro. The Japanese currency appreciated 0.5 percent to ¥78.28 to the dollar.

The British pound stayed stronger against the US dollar, gaining 0.3 percent to US$1.5836 at 3:09pm London time on Friday.