TOKYO — The dollar edged lower in Asian trade Friday following better-than expected U.S. growth data and easing concerns about an imminent U.S.-led strike on Syria. The greenback also moderated against the rupee as India’s central bank moved to support the troubled currency after it had slumped to record lows, while a rate hike in Indonesia provided some support to the rupiah. In afternoon trade in Tokyo Friday, the euro was at US$1.3242, a tad up from US$1.3241 in New York Thursday, while the dollar bought 98.26 yen, compared with 98.32 yen. The euro fetched 130.09 yen against 130.18 yen. The rupee, which has had a volatile few weeks, sat at 66.72 to the dollar, an improvement on the levels near 69 seen on Wednesday. The dollar bought 10,920 rupiah, down from more than 11,000 this week, after Bank Indonesia raised rates 50 basis points late Thursday. In Washington the Commerce Department said the U.S. economy grew an annualized 2.5 percent in the second quarter, well above the 1.7 percent originally estimated and better than the 2.1 percent revision broadly expected. However, while the figures show the world’s number one economy picking up, analysts said they raise the likelihood the U.S. Federal Reserve will soon begin to wind down its US$85 billion a month stimulus scheme.
Expectations of a taper of the program have sent equities and currencies in emerging markets plunging as the foreign investment splurge it fuelled is reversed. Other Asian currencies were mixed against the dollar. It fell to 1,109.25 South Korean won from 1,109.86 won Thursday and to 32.10 Thai baht from 32.17 baht. But the greenback rose to SG$1.2757 from SG$1.2753 and to 44.63 Philippine peso from 44.57 peso. The Australian dollar fell to 89.38 U.S. cents from 89.75 and the Chinese yuan rose to 16.06 yen from 15.98 yen.