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Sun, Jul 05, 2009 - Page 10 News List

Won leads weekly advance in Asia as export slump eases


Asian currencies gained last week, led by South Korea’s won, as data indicated regional exports are improving as a global recession abates.

The won snapped a three-week losing streak as overseas investors bought more Korean stocks than they sold on each of the five days and a government report showed the nation’s overseas sales fell last month by the least since October.

The won strengthened 1.5 percent to 1,265.90 per dollar in Seoul from a week ago, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The New Taiwan dollar reached a three-week high after China’s manufacturing expanded for a fourth month last month, boosting the outlook for trade with Asia’s second-largest economy.

The NT dollar gained 0.1 percent for the week to NT$32.89 against the greenback.

“Given the improvements we’re seeing fundamentally from the trade account side, the won is getting more attractive in real valuation terms,” said Daniel Hui, a Hong Kong-based foreign-exchange strategist at HSBC Holdings PLC. “Some of the data recently were positive. As you get more of these stabilizing factors, volatility should go down.”

The NT dollar pared a weekly advance on speculation the central bank intervened to prevent gains from hurting exporters. The currency rallied on Thursday to the strongest level since June 11 after the government opened 100 industries and infrastructure projects to investors from China.

India’s rupee climbed 0.5 percent to 47.89 and the Philippine peso advanced 0.4 percent to 48.095.

Elsewhere, the Chinese yuan was little changed this week at 6.8324 against the US currency, while Singapore’s dollar advanced 0.1 percent to S$1.4535. Thailand’s baht fell 0.1 percent to 34.08, while Indonesia’s rupiah climbed 0.3 percent to 10,190.

The US dollar rose against the euro in the pat week as speculation the economic recovery is faltering boosted demand for the safety of the US currency.

The Dollar Index, which tracks the currency against six major US trading partners, advanced to near the highest in a week after a report showed US employers cut more jobs last month than economists forecast.

The pound had its first weekly loss in a month after a report showed UK service industries were little changed last month as the recession persisted.

The greenback advanced 0.5 percent to US$1.3984 per euro as of 2:08pm in New York on Friday, from US$1.4056 at the end of last week. It reached US$1.3929 on Friday, the strongest level since June 25.

The yen was at ¥134.27 per euro, from ¥133.85 a week earlier. The US currency rose 0.9 percent to ¥96.00.

The pound was at US$1.6328, for a weekly decline of 1.2 percent. The UK currency declined 0.3 percent in the week to ¥156.77, after reaching the weakest level since June 25.

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