Bloomberg News

Asian Currencies Appreciate Before Europe Meetings, Fed Minutes

August 21, 2012

India’s rupee led gains in Asian currencies on speculation European leaders will agree on steps to tackle the region’s debt crisis at meetings this week, supporting demand for riskier assets.

The rupee reached a one-week high while South Korea’s won and Taiwan’s dollar snapped four-day declines. Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the euro-area group of finance ministers, visits Greece tomorrow to discuss its debt program. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande meet in Berlin on Aug. 23 to consider ways to contain Europe’s fiscal problems.

“We are seeing some recoveries in external conditions and therefore, as long as risk sentiment is solid, funds are coming to Asia,” said Yuji Kameoka, chief currency strategist at Daiwa Securities Co. in Tokyo. “Sentiment is influenced mainly by Europe’s situation and global economic conditions.”

The rupee rose 0.4 percent to 55.51 per dollar as of 2:25 p.m. in Mumbai, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The won closed 0.4 percent stronger at 1,131.15 in Seoul, Taiwan’s dollar gained 0.2 percent to NT$29.975 and Thailand’s baht strengthened 0.2 percent to 31.46. Financial markets in Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines are closed for holidays.

The Bloomberg-JPMorgan Asia Dollar Index, which tracks the region’s currencies, climbed 0.17 percent, the most in two weeks. Its 60-day historical volatility dropped to 3.59 percent from 3.71 percent yesterday. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index of stocks rose 0.4 percent.

Stock Inflows

The won rebounded from a two-week low after international investors bought $36 million more local shares than they sold yesterday, bringing this month’s inflows to $4.2 billion. Taiwan’s dollar strengthened the most since May after foreign funds boosted local equity holdings by $62 million yesterday.

Asian currencies also gained before the Federal Reserve releases tomorrow the minutes of its open-market committee meeting held on Aug. 1. The central bank is ready to add to economic stimulus measures as required to support growth and reduce unemployment, it said after that meeting.

“Foreign investors’ interest in Asian stocks has revived recently,” said Samson Tu, a Taipei-based fund manager at Uni- President Assets Management Corp., who helps manage $1.6 billion of bonds. “The lack of negative news from the U.S. or Europe is also supporting the Taiwan dollar.”

China’s yuan rose 0.05 percent to 6.3562 per dollar in Shanghai, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trade System. The People’s Bank of China fixed the currency’s reference rate 0.09 percent stronger at 6.3418.

Elsewhere, the Singapore dollar advanced 0.3 percent to S$1.2502 per dollar and Vietnam’s dong rose to 20,835 from 20,845 yesterday.

To contact the reporters on this story: David Yong in Singapore at dyong@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Regan at jregan19@bloomberg.net


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