Asia forex: won, Taiwan dollar rise; peso slides

Singapore, Nov 14 | Updated: Nov 15 2005, 06:16am hrs
Asian currencies were mixed on Monday as the Taiwan dollar and South Korean won hit multi-week highs as foreigners bought stocks, while the Philippine peso succumbed to profit taking after sharp gains in the past month.

The South Korean won firmed about 0.4% to a 5-week peak against the dollar at 1,037.7, while the Taiwan dollar strengthened about a third of a percent to a 4-week high at 33.372 per US dollar.

Sentiment towards the North Asian currencies was boosted by foreign buyers of the countrys stocks. This is a contrast to last month, when heavy foreign selling of South Korean and Taiwan shares sent the won and Taiwan dollar to multi-month lows.

Seouls benchmark share index on Monday hit a record high and Taiwans TAIEX stock index closed at a 5-week peak. Korea and Taiwan are tracking tech stocks, said Philip Wee, currency strategist at DBS Bank in Singapore. In the NDF market, the won and the Taiwan dollar are the most sensitive currencies to equities.

The peso rose as high as 54.38 per dollar, the strongest level since late May, before profit taking set in. It was last trading at about 54.65 per dollar, about 0.4% weaker than Fridays local close. Dealers said the early rally was seen as a good opportunity by local firms to sell pesos for dollars. The peso had been due a pull back after strong gains on hefty inflows of cash from Filipinos working overseas and upbeat sentiment about the economy, a Manila-based dealer said.