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?
â—Thailand's baht climbed 11% last year, the second-best performance in Asia excluding the yen.
â— 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.
â— Indonesia's rupiah gained 4.6% to 8,978.
â— The Indian rupee appreciated 4.1% to 44.71.
â— 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.