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Sun, Jun 15, 2008 - Page 10 News List

Asian currencies drop on

BLOOMBERG

Asian currencies declined this week, led by South Korea’s won, on speculation record oil prices will dampen growth in Asia and prompt overseas funds to sell assets.

The won had its biggest weekly loss in a month as South Korean Finance Minister Kang Man-soo said the country faced mounting difficulties stemming from surging oil prices, with crude trading near a record US$139.12 a barrel. Six of the 10 most-traded Asian currencies outside of Japan fell this week.

South Korea’s currency fell 1.7 percent this week to 1,041 against the US dollar as of the 3pm close in Seoul on Friday, according to Seoul Money Brokerage Services Ltd. The won has dropped 10.1 percent versus the dollar this year, the second-worst performer in the region.

The New Taiwan dollar fell 0.4 percent to NT$30.451 against the US currency this week.

Singapore’s dollar lost 1.1 percent to S$1.3791, while Indonesia’s rupiah traded little changed at 9,313.

Malaysia’s ringgit fell for a third week on concern investors will sell local assets as the government braces for public protests against its fuel-price increase.

The ringgit traded at 3.277 per US dollar compared with 3.2585 last week, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Philippine peso rose 0.2 percent to 44.4 per US dollar on Friday, according to Tullett Prebon PLC.

It has dropped 0.8 percent in the past five trading sessions, rounding off its ninth weekly loss.

The peso may fall to 45.80 next quarter as investors lose confidence in the nation’s ability to manage its budget, JPMorgan Chase & Co said.

Elsewhere, the Vietnamese dong slumped 2.1 percent this week to 16,620 as the central bank set a 2 percent weaker reference rate on June 11 to curb currency speculation.

Thailand’s baht lost 0.2 percent to 33.21 per dollar.

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