AP and AFP

BERLIN/SINGAPORE — The euro is a little higher against the dollar as investors keep their focus on U.S. economic data. The 16-nation currency was up to US$1.3105 in Thursday morning European trading from US$1.3089 in New York late Wednesday The U.S. government said Wednesday economic growth during the July-September quarter grew at a 2.6 percent annual rate, below analysts’ expectations for 2.8 percent. Economic figures have recently been mostly upbeat, however. The euro has been hurt by recent downgrade warnings for Portugal and Greece by major rating agencies amid the European debt crisis. It has fallen more than 8 percent against the dollar since early November. The British Pound rose to US$1.5390 from US$1.5371, and the dollar fell to 82.90 Japanese yen from 83.59 yen. In Asia, the euro held up Thursday against the greenback as some regional central banks picked up the unit as it was sold by investors seeking the stronger Australian dollar and Swiss franc, analysts said. The single currency was trading at US$1.3130 in the afternoon, up from US$1.3095 in New York Wednesday while it was at 109.11 yen from 110.02 on Wednesday. Markets in Japan were closed for a public holiday. The greenback lost ground against other Asian currencies, and was at SG$1.3053 from SG$1.3112 on Wednesday, 44.12 Philippine pesos from 44.26 and 9,038.00 Indonesian rupiah from 9,047.50. It also fell to NT$29.82 from NT$29.94 and to 30.15 Thai baht from 30.17. The euro fell below 1.25 francs on Wednesday before recovering slightly as investors continued to turn to the refuge currency in a wave of concern about the ability of some eurozone members to repay their huge debts. The euro was trading at 1.2490 francs in afternoon Asian trade from 1.2460 late Wednesday. The U.S. dollar fetched 83.10 yen from 83.55 in New York Wednesday. “Most people are playing the euro on the short side against the Aussie dollar and the Swiss franc,” said Suresh Ramanathan, forex strategist for CIMB Investment Bank in Kuala Lumpur. “(But) there are a lot of Asian central banks who are buying the euro,” he added. Ramanathan stated that banks were purchasing the euro to mitigate a fall in the value of their reserves due to a weakening greenback.