India’s rupee posted the biggest gain in Asia this week as improving data in the US spurred a rally in global stocks and inflows to emerging markets. South Korea’s won fell as tensions with North Korea intensified.
Global funds poured a net US$1.1 billion into shares in India, Indonesia, the Philippines and South Korea during the week. The won dropped after North Korea warned it may act against the US and other “aggressors” to defend its “supreme interests.”
“Asian currencies were supported by equity-related inflows,” said Ho Woei Chen, a Singapore-based economist at United Overseas Bank Ltd. “At the start of the week, the markets were concerned over tightening measures in China, in particular relating to the property sector.”
The rupee climbed 1.1 percent during the five days to 54.3250 per US dollar in Mumbai, the biggest weekly advance since Jan. 18, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The yuan rose 0.15 percent to 6.2143 and Thailand’s baht advanced 0.1 percent to 29.75.
In Taiwan, the New Taiwan dollar dropped against the US dollar on Friday for the second straight day, down NT$0.023 to close at the day’s low of NT$29.718 after the central bank stepped in again to help the greenback reverse its earlier losses, dealers said.
For the week, the NT dollar slipped 0.2 percent to NT$29.718 against the US currency,
South Korea’s won fell on Friday after threats from North Korea. The UN Security Council voted unanimously to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea over its latest nuclear test, a measure that may cause provocation from the communist nation, South Korean central bank Senior Deputy Governor Park Won-shik said at an emergency meeting in Seoul on Friday.
The won closed 0.3 percent lower at 1,090.46 in Seoul for a weekly drop of 0.5 percent.
“Concerns that North Korean risks are heightening are driving investors away, weakening the currency and the stock market,” said Jang Bo-hyeong, an analyst at Hana Institute of Finance in Seoul.
The yuan had a second weekly gain, supported by the People’s Bank of China raising the fixing on Friday by the most in a month, amid speculation policymakers will allow appreciation to help contain inflation.
Consumer prices currently face pressure from imported inflation and carry over effects, China Securities Journal reported on Friday, citing central bank Deputy Governor Pan Gongsheng (潘功勝).
Elsewhere in Asia, the Philippine peso was little changed at 40.675. Indonesia’s rupiah weakened 0.1 percent to 9,688 and Malaysia’s ringgit dropped 0.3 percent to 3.1060.