Asian currencies rose for a third day, led by gains in India’s rupee and South Korea’s won, after manufacturing growth in the U.S and China beat forecasts, buoying demand for the region’s assets.
The Bloomberg-JPMorgan Asia Dollar Index reached a three- week high after the U.S. Institute for Supply Management index of factory output climbed to 53.4 last month from 52.4 in February, more than the median estimate of 53 in a Bloomberg News survey. A Chinese purchasing managers’ index touched a one- year high, data showed April 1. Reports this week may show inflation accelerated last month in Taiwan and the Philippines.
“The U.S. and China data are supportive of risk-on sentiment in markets,” said Roy Teo, a currency strategist at ABN Amro Private Bank in Singapore. “Inflation remains elevated in the short term and we think it’s prudent for Asia to maintain some currency strength.”
The won strengthened 0.5 percent to a two-week high of 1,121.85 per dollar at the close in Seoul, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The rupee appreciated 0.5 percent to 50.62 as of 2:47 p.m. in Mumbai, Malaysia’s ringgit gained 0.3 percent to 3.0472 and Taiwan’s dollar advanced 0.1 percent to NT$29.48.
The Asia Dollar Index (ADXY), which tracks the region’s 10 most- used currencies excluding the yen, reached 117.25, the highest level since March 12. Its 60-day historical volatility fell to 3.34 percent from 3.36 percent. The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index (MXAP) of shares advanced for a third day.
Investment in Malaysia
China’s non-manufacturing index rose to 58 last month, the highest level since May, the Beijing-based National Bureau of Statistics and Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said today. The world’s second-largest economy may have grown 8.4 percent last quarter, according to National Development and Reform Commission Vice Chairman Zhang Xiaoqiang.
South Korea’s currency strengthened for a third day, its longest winning streak in a month.
“The won is gaining as data showing the economy is recovering in the U.S. supports stocks,” said Hong Seok Chan, a Seoul-based currency analyst at Daeshin Economy Research Institute.
The ringgit climbed to a three-week high. Private investment in Malaysia by companies including Carrefour SA and General Electric Co. grew 13 percent to 94 billion ringgit ($31 billion) in 2011, Prime Minister Najib Razak said in a televised address yesterday.
Indonesia’s rupiah was little changed at 9,123 per dollar after falling as much as 0.4 percent amid concern faster inflation will erode demand at an auction of 6 trillion rupiah ($657 million) of government bonds today.
Consumer prices in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy rose 3.97 percent in March from a year earlier, compared with 3.56 percent in February, the statistics bureau said in Jakarta yesterday. Bank Indonesia will continue to monitor and intervene in the currency market to stabilize the rupiah, according to a statement posted on its website on March 8.
Elsewhere, the Philippine peso was little changed at 42.692 per dollar and the Thai baht climbed 0.1 percent 30.81. China’s yuan rose 0.06 percent to 6.3073 in Hong Kong, with onshore financial markets closed for a public holiday.
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