Taiwan Dollar Soars to 12-Month High as Funds Pile Into Equities

  • Local funds lure net $1.1 billion this month, most in Asia
  • Investors putting money behind technology firms: Barclays

Taiwan’s dollar climbed to its highest level in more than a year as an improving outlook for the island’s technology industry lured Asia’s biggest inflows.

The currency rose 0.18 percent to NT$31.455 per U.S. dollar at the close after touching NT$31.40, a level not seen since July 24 last year. The island’s exchange rate has rallied 1.5 percent this month, the most among 11 Asian currencies, as overseas funds poured a net $1.1 billion into Taiwan equities.

The benchmark Taiex index has climbed to a 13-month high amid speculation the imminent release of Apple Inc.’s iPhone 7 will boost profits at Taiwan suppliers and relief that the installation of President Tsai Ing-wen hasn’t led to a deterioration in ties with China. The island’s exports unexpectedly rose 1.2 percent in July, the first increase in 18 months, data on Monday showed.

“The iPhone 7 is going to be released, and now it’s time for companies to ramp up production,” said Angela Hsieh, an economist at Barclays Plc in Singapore. “The Taiwan dollar has been moving alongside foreign inflows. Upside room is starting to get limited."

Overseas funds have poured $12.7 billion into the island’s equities so far this year, making Taiwan the most popular destination for investors among nine Asian markets tracked by Bloomberg.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the island’s largest listed company and a major Apple supplier, has risen 20 percent since May 20, the date of Tsai’s inauguration. The firm’s shares advanced 0.3 percent on Tuesday, a fourth straight day of gains. The Taiex Index of stocks closed up 0.1 percent at the highest level since July 2015.

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