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Sun, Sep 07, 2008 - Page 10 News List

ASIA: Asian currencies fall in week on capital outflows

BLOOMBERG

Asian currencies had a weekly decline, led by South Korea’s won and Indonesia’s rupiah, on signs investors are dumping emerging-market assets as a deepening US slowdown threatens to damp global growth.

The won fell for a sixth week, the longest losing streak since 2001, as global funds sold local stocks and a central bank report confirmed on Friday that Asia’s fourth-biggest economy expanded at the slowest pace in more than a year.

“Market players are cautious about unrest in global financial markets, which is strengthening sentiment for the dollar,” said Kim Sung-soon, a currency dealer with Industrial Bank of Korea in Seoul. “Importers’ deals and stock sales are knocking the wind out of the won.”

The won fell 2.6 percent to 1,117.80 per US dollar this week in Seoul, according to Seoul Money Brokerage Services Ltd. It rose 1 percent on Friday. It is the worst performer among the 10 most-active Asian currencies outside of Japan this year, with a 16.6 percent loss.

Indonesia’s rupiah had its worst week since June last year as the Jakarta Composite Index plunged to a one-year low on Friday.

The Philippine peso completed a sixth weekly loss as the local benchmark stock index declined 1.1 percent on Friday, the biggest drop since Aug. 19.

The rupiah weakened 1.3 percent on Friday and 2.4 percent through the week to 9,375 to the dollar, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The peso fell 2 percent this week to 46.833 in Manila, according to Tullett Prebon PLC. It weakened 0.7 percent on Friday.

The ringgit fell 1.9 percent this week to 3.4595 per dollar in Kuala Lumpur, Bloomberg data show. It dropped 0.8 percent on Friday. The Thai baht weakened 1 percent to 34.59 in Bangkok, with Friday’s loss at 0.5 percent.

Elsewhere, the New Taiwan dollar slid 1.1 percent this week to NT$31.875 against the US currency and the Singapore dollar declined 1.7 percent to S$1.4382. India’s rupee weakened 1.7 percent to 44.66 and Vietnam’s dong slipped 0.4 percent to 16,595.

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