Peso, rupee lead Asian currencies in weekly decline

Bloomberg and staff Writer, with CNA

Sun, Jan 05, 2014 - Page 15

The Philippine peso and India’s rupee led declines in Asian currencies this week as data fueled concern that some of the region’s biggest economies are cooling.

A gauge of China’s services industries growth fell to a four-month low last month, an official report showed on Friday, after figures released on Wednesday signaled a manufacturing slowdown.

The Purchasing Managers’ Index for India compiled by HSBC Holdings PLC and Markit Economics fell to 50.7 last month from 51.3 in November, according to a report released on Thursday. Any mark above 50 indicates expansion.

The Bloomberg-JPMorgan Asia Dollar Index was 115.82 this week, compared with 115.72 on Dec. 27. The gauge of 10 regional currencies, excluding the yen, fell 1.9 percent last year, the most since 2008.

In Taipei, the New Taiwan dollar fell 0.05 percent to NT$30.039 this week, compared with NT$30.025 on Dec. 27.

The greenback rose against the NT dollar on Friday, gaining NT$0.06 to close at the day’s high of NT$30.039 as the central bank intervened to push the US currency back to the NT$30 mark by the end of the session, dealers said.

The central bank’s presence helped the US dollar fend off downward pressure against its local counterpart triggered by a rising yen, which staged a strong technical rebound, they added.

Judging from the closing level, the central bank is likely to continue its intervention to maintain the US dollar higher than NT$30 in a bid to strengthen Taiwan’s global competitiveness, dealers added.

In Beijing, the yuan lost 0.1 percent to 1,055.23 this week, after China’s non-manufacturing purchasing managers’ index slumped to 54.6 last month from 56 in November, the Beijing-based National Bureau of Statistics and China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said.

The manufacturing index declined to 51 from 51.4, the bureau said on Wednesday.

The peso slid 0.6 percent from Dec. 27 to 44.648 per US dollar in Manila, Tullett Prebon PLC said, while the rupee weakened 0.5 percent to 62.1550, according to prices from local banks compiled by Bloomberg.

Among other Asian currencies this week, Indonesia’s rupiah rose 0.7 percent to 12,175 per US dollar — its first weekly advance since October — while Malaysia’s ringgit dropped to 3.2889 from 3.2877 on Dec. 27 and Vietnam’s dong was little changed at 21,090.

Thailand’s baht dropped 0.4 percent to 32.970 this week, trading near its lowest level since June 2010 as local stocks tumbled amid concern prolonged political unrest in the country will hurt the economy and deter investors.

In Seoul, the won fell 0.5 percent on Friday, reversing earlier gains to lose 0.1 percent and end the week at 1,055.23 amid concern that policymakers will intervene to shield exporters against the impact of a slide in Japan’s currency.

The South Korean government needs to aid companies because of the weak yen, Yonhap Infomax saod yesterday, citing South Korean Minister of Finance Hyun Oh-seok.

The won strengthened 23 percent versus the yen last year, the most in Bloomberg data going back to 1986, following an increase of 22 percent in 2012. The won’s advance against the yen hurts local exporters, which compete with Japanese companies in overseas markets.

The euro fell the most against the US dollar in two months amid speculation that its six-month rally was due for a pause even as data signaled eurozone improvements.

The yen snapped nine weeks of losses as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Wednesday that the nation was halfway to escaping deflation.

The euro dropped 1.2 percent to US$1.3589 this week in New York after reaching US$1.3893 on Dec. 27, its strongest level since October 2011. The greenback fell 0.3 percent to ¥104.86 after rising to ¥105.44 on Thursday, the weakest level since October 2008. Japan’s currency climbed 0.6 percent to ¥142.48 per euro.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, which tracks the greenback against 10 major peers, rose 0.3 percent to 1,026.23 for its third weekly rally.

Sterling had its first weekly decline in three weeks versus the US currency as a survey of purchasing managers on Thursday showed that manufacturing fell unexpectedly and data the next day showed construction output cooled last month.

However, the pound advanced for a third week against the euro as expansion in the property market boosted optimism the UKs economic recovery is strengthening.

The British currency strengthened 0.6 percent this week to £0.8286 per euro and declined 0.4 percent to US$1.6422 after reaching US$1.6603 the day before.