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US dollar up to NT$30.392 in Taipei

TAIPEI--The U.S. dollar rose against the New Taiwan dollar Thursday, gaining NT$0.06 to close at the day's high of NT$30.392 after a quiet session amid concerns over the regional economy, dealers said.

Trading volume remained moderate as many traders stayed on the sidelines after China's latest manufacturing activity left many disappointed, they said.

As with recent trading sessions, the local central bank entered the trading floor in the late session, propping up the U.S. dollar to help the currency close above the previous level, they added.

The greenback opened at NT$30.370 and moved to a low of NT$30.280 before rebounding. Turnover totaled US$607 million during the trading session.

The U.S. dollar opened higher on a mild technical rebound from a session earlier, but fell to negative territory immediately as traders were encouraged by a stronger Japanese yen to buy into the New Taiwan dollar, dealers said.

Foreign institutional investors remained on the buy side in the local market, serving as net buyers of NT$990 million (US$32.57 million) worth of local shares, a move which further boosted demand for the New Taiwan dollar and placed downward pressure on the greenback, they said.

After the U.S. dollar fell below the NT$30.30 mark, the local central bank's intervention became more visible as it pushed up the greenback back into positive territory, dealers said.

Despite the central bank's presence, the foreign exchange remained quiet on moderate turnover amid rising concerns over the regional economy after China's manufacturing activity showed signs of a slowdown.

According to HSBC Holdings and Markit Economics, the purchasing managers' index in China fell to 48.3 in February from 49.5 seen in January. The February data was a new low for the past seven months.

Meanwhile, the minutes released by the U.S. Federal Reserve overnight sparked worries over the possibility that the U.S. central bank will raise interest rates sooner than the market has expected, dealers said.

The minutes dampened market sentiment, prompting many traders to retreat from the trading floor and cap turnover in the foreign exchange market, they said.

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