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Asian currencies rise on optimistic growth outlook

Friday 20th August 2010
With growth that’s forecast to exceed that of developed markets and investors attracted by relatively high yields, Asian currencies gained this week, led by the Thai baht and Malaysia’s ringgit.

The baht appreciated the most for a week since March after the central bank signalled currency gains that are in line with the regional trend can be tolerated.

The ringgit reached a 13- year high after Malaysia’s monetary authority eased currency curbs and reported its economy expanded faster than economists predicted in the second quarter.

The baht rose 1.2 percent this week to 31.51 per dollar in Bangkok, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The ringgit advanced 1 per cent to 3.1395 and the Philippine peso gained 0.6 percent to 45.025.

Economists in a Bloomberg survey predict the Bank of Thailand will increase borrowing costs by a quarter of a percentage point on Aug. 25 to 1.75 percent.

Malaysia’s ringgit reached its strongest level since 1997 after data this week showed the economy expanded 8.9 percent in the second quarter, beating the 8.4 percent median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

The Philippine peso climbed as data showed money sent home by overseas citizens, which accounts for about a 10th of the economy, climbed the most in five months in June.

The Vietnamese dong dropped 2.1 percent to 19,475 after the central bank this week devalued the currency for a third time in the past year to boost exports.

Elsewhere, the Singapore dollar gained 0.7 percent this week to S$1.3539 against its U.S. counterpart and the Indonesian rupiah rose 0.1 percent to 8,973. Taiwan’s dollar climbed 0.1 percent to NT$31.935. South Korea’s won was little changed at 1,183.13 from 1,183.70 a week earlier.

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