Bloomberg News

Asian Currencies Gain on Speculation Borrowing Costs to Climb

June 29, 2011

June 29 (Bloomberg) -- Asian currencies advanced for a second day, led by South Korea’s won and Malaysia’s ringgit, on speculation regional policy makers will boost interest rates to curb price pressures.

Consumer-price inflation in South Korea will be about 4 percent this year, compared with the government’s target of 3 percent, the presidential office said yesterday. Taiwan’s central bank will lift the benchmark interest rate by 12.5 basis points to 1.875 percent tomorrow, according to all 18 economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

“Inflation has yet to peak,” said Callum Henderson, global head of currency research at Standard Chartered Plc in Singapore. “It’s still too early to call the end of inflation cycle just yet. The focus of Asia policy makers is still on limiting inflation rather than supporting growth for the time being.”

The won rose 0.6 percent to 1,076.80 per dollar as of the 3 p.m. close in Seoul, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The ringgit advanced 0.5 percent to 3.0360 and the Taiwan dollar rose 0.2 percent to NT$28.92.

The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index of stocks gained as Germany’s biggest banks and insurers meet to explore how creditors can contribute to a Greek aid package, two people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg. Lawmakers in Greece will vote on a budget austerity plan today to secure financing.

‘Good Trade’

“Some optimism about Greece before their vote today supports sentiment for regional currencies,” said Disawat Tiaowvanich, a foreign-exchange trader at Bangkok Bank Pcl. “It’s a good trade to sell the dollar ahead.”

The won advanced the most since June 21 as South Korean Finance Minister Bahk Jae Wan sought more price-stabilization measures at a ministerial meeting in Seoul today. The consumer- price index rose 4.3 percent in June from a year earlier after having increased 4.1 percent the previous month, according to the median forecast of economists in a Bloomberg survey before official data due on July 1.

“Comments on inflation are adding to speculation that the central bank may need to raise interest rates in the second half,” said Kong Dong Rak, a fixed-income analyst at Taurus Investment & Securities Co. in Seoul.

Yuan Fixing

The ringgit rose the most in more than a week as demand for 2 billion ringgit ($659 million) of 20-year bonds exceeded the amount on offer by 2.52 times. Malaysia completed a $2 billion global Islamic debt offering yesterday.

The yuan rose for a second day as the People’s Bank of China set the reference rate 0.01 percent stronger at 6.4718 per dollar. The currency gained 0.1 percent to 6.464 per dollar in Shanghai.

“I expect the yuan to continue on its appreciation path,” said Kenix Lai, a foreign-exchange analyst at Sun Hung Kai Securities Ltd. in Hong Kong. “I see a turning point in the Greece situation.”

Elsewhere, Indonesia’s rupiah gained 0.3 percent to 8,604 against the dollar and Singapore’s dollar appreciated 0.6 percent to S$1.2356. The Philippine peso added 0.2 percent to 43.482 and Thailand’s baht strengthened 0.5 percent to 30.82.

--With assistance from Yumi Teso in Bangkok and Seyoon Kim in Seoul. Editors: Ven Ram, Sandy Hendry


To contact the reporter on this story: Khalid Qayum in Singapore at To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Kyoungwha Kim in Singapore at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Sandy Hendry at

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