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NT$ gains most in month on yuan appreciation bets

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littlekracker


Updated Saturday, April 10, 2010 1:12 pm TWN, Bloomberg

NT$ gains most in month on yuan appreciation bets


TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan's dollar rose the most in a month on speculation China will resume gains in the yuan and as international investors plowed more funds into local stocks.

A change in the mainland's currency policy is “imminent” and may occur over the next few weeks, Ben Simpfendorfer, Hong Kong-based chief China economist at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc., said on Bloomberg Television. China is Taiwan's biggest export market and investors are seeking to benefit from a trade accord currently under negotiation. Funds based abroad put US$1.2 billion into the island's equities this week, helping drive the biggest weekly advance in the currency in a month.

“People are watching the development in the yuan,” said Tarsicio Tong, a currency trader at Union Bank of Taiwan in Taipei. “There's some hot money coming in.”

The local dollar appreciated 0.3 percent to NT$31.615 against its U.S. counterpart as of the 4 p.m. close, according to Taipei Forex Inc. The currency rose 0.5 percent this week.

Net purchases of Taiwan stocks reached US$2.5 billion so far this year, helping drive the benchmark TAIEX of equities to an 11-week high Thursday.

Union Bank's Tong said the central bank will slow gains in the currency. The Taiwan dollar reached NT$31.534 Friday, the strongest level since Sept. 8, 2008.

The Central Bank of the Republic of China (Taiwan) said on March 25 that excessive fluctuations in the exchange rate were unfavorable for economic and financial stability. The central bank asked some lenders not to sell more than US$3 million worth of U.S. dollars during the final minute of daily trading in the local currency market, the China Times reported Friday, citing unidentified traders.

The yield on the 1.375 percent bond maturing March 2020 was little changed at 1.44 percent, according to Gretai Securities Market, Taiwan's biggest exchange for bonds. Its price fell 0.0519, or NT$51.9 per NT$100,000 face amount, to 99.3802. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point.

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