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US dollar closes NT$0.005 higher on the Taipei forex at NT$30.065

TAIPEI--The U.S. dollar rose against the Taiwan dollar Wednesday, gaining NT$0.005 to close at the day's high of NT$30.065 in a relatively quiet session, dealers said.

Sentiment toward the regional economy turned cautious after China reported lower-than-expected growth in investment and retail sales in July, prompting currency traders here to remain on the sidelines, they said.

The U.S. dollar finished in positive territory only because of intervention by Taiwan's central bank, which has acted consistently to prevent the local currency from appreciating too quickly against the greenback, they added.

The greenback opened at NT$30.065, and moved to a low of NT$29.850 before rebounding. Turnover totaled US$445 million during the trading session.

The U.S. dollar opened higher on follow-through buying from a session earlier, but soon fell into negative territory as traders reacted to a technical rebound on Taiwan's stock market to raise their Taiwan dollar holdings, dealers said.

Foreign institutional investors were net buyers of NT$7.16 billion (US$238 million) in local shares to push up the weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange by 0.74 percent and boost demand for the Taiwan dollar, they said.

The gains posted by the Taiwan dollar, however, were limited by the weakness of other regional currencies, including the South Korean won and the Chinese yuan, dealers said.

Despite the local central bank's intervention, turnover in the local foreign exchange remained thin as many investors took to the sidelines, waiting for a report on U.S. retail sales for July to pick up clues on the state of the U.S. economy, they said.

China reported that fixed-asset investment grew 17 percent in the first seven months of the year from a year earlier, compared with a 17.3 percent rise in the first six months. Retail sales rose 12.2 percent in July year-on-year, down from a 12.4 percent rise in June.

The data left traders wary of the region's economic fundamentals and led them to dump regional currencies, dealers said.

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