Asian currencies fall against dollar
Key Asian currencies ended the week mainly down against the US dollar as the greenback found new strength on limited signs of optimism in the troubled US economy.
JAPANESE YEN: The yen slipped to a nine-week low against the dollar in Tokyo as the greenback was buoyed by sharp gains in Asian share prices and easing worries about the US economy.
The Japanese unit hit the week's low of 105.05 to the dollar before closing daytime trading at 104.72-74 to the dollar on Friday, compared with 104.70-72 to the dollar a week earlier.
The yen, which peaked at 103.54 in Tokyo on Thursday, sagged to around 105.50 in New York later Friday just after the US Labor Department announced 20,000 non-farm jobs cut in April, compared with a market consensus of 75,000.
Unless the figure shows an unexpectedly severe drop in employment, traders will continue to bet on an end to US rate cuts, supporting the dollar, NAB Capital strategist John Kyriakopoulos said before the jobless report.
In midweek, the dollar was supported by US consumption and manufacturing data that eased worries over the US economy and fuelled speculation that the US Federal Reserve may pause in its series of interest rate cuts.
Those figures "supported perceptions that the Fed is not likely to cut interest rates again," Kyriakopoulos wrote in a note to clients.
The Fed announced a quarter-point reduction on Wednesday and some analysts said it could be the last reduction for some time.
On Friday, higher share prices in Asia also buoyed the dollar. Investors tend to buy the greenback and other currencies with higher yields than the yen to invest in assets with higher returns.
Investors may step up buying back dollars by focusing on the interest rate differentials "if rises in share prices improve the level of their risk tolerance while excessive worries about financial markets are subsiding," the business daily Nikkei said on its Internet edition.
CHINESE YUAN: The yuan closed at 6.9870 to the dollar Wednesday on the exchange-traded market, compared with Tuesday's close of 6.9958, and a closing price of 7.0109 to the dollar last Friday.
On the over-the-counter market, it ended at 6.9875 to the dollar against 6.9850 in the previous day.
The central bank had set the yuan central parity rate at 7.0002 to the dollar Wednesday, compared with 6.9898 on Tuesday.
The People's Bank of China allows a trading band of 0.5 percent on either side of the midpoint.
HONG KONG DOLLAR: The US-pegged Hong Kong unit was trading at 7.7962 to the dollar from 7.7938 a week earlier.
INDONESIAN RUPIAH: The rupiah ended the week's trading at 9,230/9,235 to the dollar compared to 9,225/9,235 to the dollar a week earlier.
PHILIPPINES PESO: The Philippines peso fell to 42.345 to the dollar on Friday afternoon from 42.040 on April 25.
SINGAPORE DOLLAR: The dollar was at 1.3628 Singapore dollars on Friday from 1.3588 the previous week.
SOUTH KOREAN WON: The won weakened to a six-week low of 1,009.60 won per dollar Friday, down from 996.0 won a week earlier, as the greenback gained for three consecutive trading days against the South Korean currency.
Overseas players snapped up the greenback and local banks sought to cover their short positions.
Falls in local exporters' dollar supply ahead of an extended weekend also contributed to the won's weakness against the dollar.
TAIWAN DOLLAR: The Taiwan dollar fell 0.38 percent during the week to close at 30.455 against the US dollar, against 30.340 a week ago.
THAI BAHT: The Thai baht remained stable against the dollar this week amid light trading as there were few factors impacting the currency, a dealer said.
The Thai unit closed Friday at 31.71-72 baht to one dollar compared to last week's close of 31.69-70.