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Asian currencies fall against dollar


HONG KONG, Nov 20 (AFP): Asian currencies mostly fell against the dollar during the week, with the US unit being bolstered by expectations of a rise in interest rates.
JAPANESE YEN: The yen touched fresh 27-month lows against the dollar amid prospects of a widening interest rate gap between Japan and abroad, with the Bank of Japan maintaining its super-loose monetary policy.
The Japanese currency plunged as low as 119.38 to the dollar at midweek but recovered to fetch 119.22-24 to the dollar late Friday, down from 117.81-83 to the dollar a week earlier.
In New York, the yen slipped further Wednesday to 119.53 to the dollar, which was bolstered by US Treasury Department data that foreign investors poured a record 101.9 billion dollars into US assets in September.
Government officials, including Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, have pressured the Bank of Japan to hold back from ending its policy of flooding the financial system with cash to try to end years of deflation.
The dollar has risen sharply in recent weeks on expectations of further rises in US interest rates, making it vulnerable to profit-taking.
The yen was sold late Friday when the central bank announced it would keep its monetary policy unchanged.
CHINESE YUAN: The Chinese yuan closed at 8.0832 to the US dollar Friday, the central bank said in a statement on its website, compared with a closing rate of 8.0856 on Nov 11, the previous Friday.
In accordance with its new policy, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange will take the closing price as the mid-point for the next trading day. The central bank allows a trading band of 0.3 per cent either side of the mid-rate.
HONG KONG DOLLAR: The US-pegged Hong Kong dollar closed Friday at 7.761, unchanged from the previous week.
INDONESIAN RUPIAH: The rupiah closed Friday slightly weaker at 10,090-10,095 to the dollar compared to last week's close at 9,990-10,000.
PHILIPPINE PESO: The Philippine peso traded Friday at 54.59 to the dollar compared to 54.42 to the dollar on November 11.
SINGAPORE DOLLAR: The US dollar finished the week at 1.7013 Singapore dollars, compared with 1.7016 the previous week.
SOUTH KOREAN WON: The won closed at 1,036.20 won per dollar, compared with 1,041.40 won a week earlier, on the back of dollar-buying by offshore and domestic investors.
Dealers said the won would face pressure from a strong yen next week, although economic officials said the government was determined to stop a sharp fluctuation of the currency.
TAIWAN DOLLAR: The Taiwan dollar fell 0.47 per cent in the week to close Friday at 33.631 against the US dollar. The local currency closed at 33.473 a week earlier.
THAI BAHT: The Thai baht fell against the dollar this week as widening interest rate differentials between the United States and Japan prompted investors to buy higher-yielding US financial assets, dealers said.
The Thai unit closed Friday at 41.21-24 baht to one dollar, down from 40.90-92 baht a week earlier.
But the baht edged up against the euro, closing at 48.08-15 baht to one euro Friday, against 48.82-87 a week earlier.