Asian currencies completed a second weekly gain, led by the Philippine peso and India's rupee, on speculation the region's growth outlook and rising interest rates will attract foreign funds.
The Bloomberg-JPMorgan Asia Dollar Index touched a 14-year high this week as India boosted borrowing costs by more than economists forecast and Bank Negara Malaysia said taming inflation is "critical", a week after it described borrowing costs as being "quite low".
"The fundamentals are still attractive in the Asian region as growth continues," said David Cohen, a Singapore-based economist for Action Economics. "This has been contributing to the central banks' decisions to raise interest rates, which is supportive of their currencies."
The Philippine peso strengthened 0.7 per cent this week to 42.07 per dollar in Manila, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The rupee appreciated 0.4 per cent to 44.19, Indonesia's rupiah gained 0.3 per cent to 8,507 and Singapore's dollar climbed 0.2 per cent to S$1.2056.
The Asia Dollar Index, which tracks the region's 10 most- active currencies excluding the yen, advanced 0.2 per cent this week and 1 per cent this month, the most since April.
Asian nations need to implement policies to curb inflation even as the global economy slows, the Manila-based Asian Development Bank said in a report released on Thursday. The lender's forecast for growth of 7.9 per cent this year in emerging-market East Asian economies may be revised lower, according to its Asia Economic Monitor report.
Asia's emerging-market economies will expand 8.4 per cent in 2011, almost quadruple the 2.2 per cent growth projected for developed nations, the International Monetary Fund said last month.
"Asia is relatively more stable than Europe or the US and looks safer compared with the rest of the world," said Teck Kin Suan, an economist at United Overseas Bank in Singapore. "That contributes to inflows to Asia."
The peso traded near its strongest level in more than three years after Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said on Thursday that risks to its inflation forecasts remain "skewed to the upside". The central bank remains watchful against inflation and will adjust its "policy and prudential setting as needed", it said, citing a necessity for "caution" in monetary stance.
Policy makers kept the benchmark interest rate at 4.5 per cent on Thursday having announced two increases of a quarter of a percentage point each earlier in the year.
The rupee climbed to its highest level in almost three years after the central bank raised interest rates this week for the fifth time this year to damp inflation. The currency touched 43.855 on Wednesday, the strongest since August 2008.
From/ Gulf News