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TWD rises to NT$29.740, touches 3-1/2 month high

The New Taiwan dollar rose sharply yesterday amid a similar rally in stocks on what was seen as an influx of foreign hot money into Taiwan, dealers said.

The local currency closed at NT$29.740 yesterday against the U.S. dollar, rising NT$0.102, on trade volume of US$704 million.

The greenback has continued to weaken as the euro was traded for US$1.2818 last Friday, the highest in three and a half months, on support measures from the Swiss central bank. These factors led to a rise of currencies across Asia.

Here in Taiwan, the local currency opened flat at NT$29.842 and went on a rising trend as the day progressed. The New Taiwan dollar had at one point hit NT$29.67, a rise of NT$0.172 and the highest since May 31. At the noontime break, the local unit stood at NT$29.674, strengthening NT$0.168 from the previous trade.

The rising trend weakened a bit in the afternoon and caused the local unit to close at NT$29.74.

In the stock market, share prices in Taiwan edged higher yesterday, led by construction stocks and companies with high fixed assets, helping the benchmark index close above its one-month moving average of 7,438.

The weighted benchmark TAIEX closed up 57.83 points, or 0.77 percent, at the day's high of 7,482.74 after opening at the day's low of 7,435.34. Turnover was NT$81.36 billion.

The TAIEX could challenge the 7,500-point level if trading volume strengthens further, said Boryi Chien, a manager in the research department of Cathay Securities Co.

Merrill Lynch was even more optimistic, saying the TAIEX may hit 8,000 during the second half, on new products launched by tech firms and more new funds coming to the island.

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