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Malaysia Boleh: Ringgit leads Asian currencies' gains [03-01-2011]  
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It was the best gains in 37-years

KUALA LUMPUR: Asian currencies completed their biggest gain since 2006 as the region's world-leading economic growth and widening interest-rate premiums attracted capital from overseas.

A Bloomberg report from Singapore said Malaysia's ringgit led gains in Asia last year, advancing 11.8% to 3.0635 per dollar in Kuala Lumpur, its best year since 1973.

The Bloomberg-JPMorgan Asia Dollar Index, which tracks the 10 most-active currencies excluding the yen, climbed 5.2% in 2010 as funds based abroad poured a total of US$63.4bil into shares in India, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand, the report said.

Malaysia's Bank Negara raised interest rates three times to 2.75% to stem inflation amid an influx of overseas capital.

The ringgit led gains in Asia last year, advancing 11.8% to 3.0635 per dollar

The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index of regional stocks rallied 14.3% last year, beating the 12.8% advance in the Standard & Poor's 500 share index.

How did some other crrencies fare according to the report?

●Thailand's baht climbed 11% last year, the second-best performance in Asia excluding the yen.

● Elsewhere, Singapore's dollar rose 9.3% last year to S$1.2823, the Philippine peso appreciated 5.7% to 43.62 and Taiwan's dollar gained 5.2% in 2010 to NT$30.368.

Singapore's dollar had its best annual performance since 1994 after the central bank last year unexpectedly sought a stronger currency to curb inflation.

It reached S$1.2817 on Nov 4, its highest level since at least 1981 when Bloomberg began compiling the data, the report said.

● Indonesia's rupiah gained 4.6% to 8,978.

● The Indian rupee appreciated 4.1% to 44.71.

● China's yuan strengthened beyond 6.6 per dollar for the first time in 17 years bringing gains for 2010 to 3.6% on speculation China would seek appreciation to tame inflation. The currency climbed 0.6% from a week ago to 6.5897.

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