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Won Leads Gains in Asian Currencies on IMF Outlook; Rupee Falls

South Korea’s won led gains in Asian currencies after the International Monetary Fund raised its estimate for global economic growth and a successful bond auction in Spain tempered concern about Europe’s debt crisis.

The won rose for the first time in three days after the IMF predicted an expansion of 3.5 percent for this year in its World Economic Outlook published yesterday, up from a January projection of 3.3 percent. The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index of shares gained 1 percent after Spain sold more debt than planned at an auction and a report showed German investor confidence improved. India’s rupee fell, approaching a three-month low.

“Asian currencies got a boost as the pessimistic mood in the market regarding Europe’s situation was corrected a bit,” said Shigehisa Shiroki, chief trader on the Asian and emerging-markets team at Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd. in Tokyo.

The won strengthened 0.3 percent to 1,137.20 per dollar in Seoul, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Singapore’s dollar advanced 0.1 percent to S$1.2498 while the rupee weakened 0.2 percent to 51.5660.

The IMF forecast yesterday the world economy will grow 4.1 percent in 2013, compared with an earlier estimate of 4 percent. Spain sold 3.18 billion euros ($4.2 billion) of bonds yesterday, compared with its maximum target of 3 billion euros.

“Global stock gains following the revised economic forecast and Spain’s debt auctions will support the won,” said Lee Yong Hee, a Seoul-based currency dealer at the Industrial Bank of Korea.

Indonesia Debt Sale

Indonesia’s rupiah traded at 9,180 per dollar, halting a two-day slide. The government raised $2.5 billion selling 10-and 30-year dollar-denominated bonds yesterday. The sale attracted $7.9 billion in bids, the finance ministry said.

The central bank is shifting its policy focus to managing consumer-price gains, Perry Warjiyo, director of economic research and monetary policy, said yesterday.

“Bank Indonesia’s statement will have a positive effect on the rupiah as it reassures foreign investors,” said Klara Pramesti, a treasury analyst at PT Bank Negara Indonesia in Jakarta. “The successful bond auction boosts appetite for riskier local assets.”

The rupee weakened for the second time this week on speculation the nation’s refiners stepped up dollar purchases to pay for costlier crude-oil imports. The commodity gained 1.5 percent this week in New York to $104.39 per barrel.

Oil Imports

Crude imports by India, which buys abroad almost 80 percent of the oil it uses, averaged $12.7 billion in the first two months of this year, compared with $10.2 billion in the last quarter of 2011, according to government data.

“We are seeing dollar-demand from oil importers,” said Vikas Babu, a trader at state-run Andhra Bank in Mumbai. “There are inflows as well, but insufficient to offset demand.”

China’s yuan traded at 6.3029 per dollar in Shanghai, compared with 6.3015 yesterday, according to China Foreign Exchange Trade System. The central bank fixed the exchange rate 0.08 percent lower at 6.2948. A government report today showed the nation’s home prices fell last month in 37 of 70 cities.

“I’m quite surprised to see a weaker fixing today despite the stronger market across Asia,” said Stella Lee, president of Success Futures & Foreign Exchange Ltd. in Hong Kong. “China may want to show a wider band doesn’t mean more room for one-way appreciation bets. Investors are concerned about the magnitude of China’s economic slowdown as investment keeps falling.”

Elsewhere, Thailand’s baht and Malaysia’s ringgit were little changed at 30.80 per dollar and 3.0630, respectively. The Philippine peso was at 42.655, compared with 42.650 yesterday. Vietnam’s dong weakened 0.6 percent to 20,840.

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