US dollar closes up at NT$29.718


TAIPEI — The U.S. dollar rose against the New Taiwan dollar Friday for the second straight day, gaining NT$0.023 to close at the day’s high of NT$29.718 after the local central bank stepped in again to help the greenback reverse its earlier losses, dealers said.

Despite the central bank’s intervention, turnover remained moderate as many investors stayed on the sidelines, waiting for the release of the February unemployment rate in the United States later Friday, they said.

The U.S. dollar opened at NT$29.700 and moved to an early low of NT$29.630 before rebounding. Turnover totaled US$623 million during the trading session.

After a mild rebound from its early decline, the U.S. dollar soon trended lower again against the New Taiwan dollar as foreign institutional investors bought the local currency to invest in Taiwan’s stock exchange, dealers said.

Foreign institutional investors bought a net NT$4.01 billion (US$135 million) in local shares, helping the market’s benchmark weighted index close up 0.68 percent to breach the 8,000-point mark.

Investors were less attached to the greenback as global economic sentiment improved after the European Central Bank (ECB) left its key interest rates unchanged overnight, dealers said.

Debt-ridden Spain’s ability to move bonds at lower interest rates also eased concerns over debt problems in the region, which pushed the euro higher before falling back on profit-taking, they said.

Also hurting the greenback was a fall in the latest weekly initial jobless claims reported in the United States overnight, which reinforced confidence in the global economy and encouraged many investors to move funds out of the U.S. dollar and take on more risk in equity markets, they added.

The losses suffered by the greenback against the New Taiwan dollar were recouped late in the session, however, on central bank intervention, dealers said.

The central bank has regularly intervened in the foreign exchange market in recent months to keep the New Taiwan dollar from appreciating too quickly and hurting the country’s export competitiveness.

In the meantime, many investors preferred to take to the sidelines, waiting to find out the U.S. unemployment rate in February to get a clearer picture of the world’s economic climate, they said.