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Greenback ascends to day's high of NT$30.320 in Taipei

TAIPEI -- The U.S. dollar rose against the New Taiwan dollar Friday, gaining NT$0.014 to close at the day's high of NT$30.320 after moving in a narrow range on moderate turnover, dealers said.

Rising tensions in Ukraine drove international foreign exchange traders toward the Japanese yen as a safe haven and away from the U.S. dollar, leading traders in Taiwan's market to sell the greenback for the local currency.

The U.S. dollar was also driven lower by the continued injection of funds into the local bourse by foreign institutional investors, which increased demand for the New Taiwan dollar, dealers said.

Taiwan's central bank stepped into the foreign exchange market late in the session, as it has done recently, to help the U.S. dollar reverse the downtrend, helping it close in positive territory, dealers said.

The greenback opened at NT$30.306, and moved to a low of NT$30.255 before rebounding. Turnover totaled US$644 million during the trading session.

The U.S. dollar opened flat, and selling emerged because of the geopolitical tensions in Eastern Europe as the Russian military launched drills near Ukraine's borders, which boosted fears over further political chaos in the region.

Although Taiwan's stock market took a beating amid uncertainty over the fate of the country's fourth nuclear power plant, the U.S. dollar still fell as foreign institutional investors were net buyers in the local equity market for the 25th consecutive session, dealers said.

According to the TWSE, foreign institutional investors bought a net NT$7.09 billion (US$234 million) in local shares, while the weighted index plunged 1.91 percent to end at 8,774.1.

The moderate trading volume in the local foreign exchange market also reflected cautious sentiment toward China's economy as the latest purchasing managers' index for April was below 50, indicating ongoing contraction, dealers said.

The central bank's intervention vaulted the U.S. dollar back to the NT$30.30 mark at the close, a level the bank wanted to maintain to slow down the New Taiwan dollar's appreciation, they said.

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