TOKYO — The dollar turned higher in Asia on Tuesday after suffering a sell-off in the previous two sessions following an unexpectedly weak set of U.S. jobs data. The greenback changed hands at 103.43 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade, up from 102.98 yen in New York Monday afternoon, but still well down from levels near 105 yen in Asia last week. The euro bought 141.27 yen and US$1.3659, against 140.77 yen and US$1.3670 in U.S. trade. A senior dealer at a major bank in Japan said the dollar may win support from Japanese beverage giant Suntory’s US$16 billion buyout of the U.S. maker of Jim Beam bourbon. “Reports say Suntory plans to fund the buy-out with cash and financing from the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and finish the deal by June, so we can expect UFJ to be buying some U.S. dollars for the yen,” he told Dow Jones Newswires. “I don’t expect any impact immediately, but once orders start coming in, it could provide downside support,” he said. The greenback got a boost Tuesday from dip-buying and after data showed Japan’s current account deficit tripled year-on-year to a record 592.8 billion yen in November.
Japan has been posting widening deficits in the current account — its broadest measure of trade with the rest of the world — as energy costs surge after the country’s nuclear reactors were shut down in response to the Fukushima disaster. The greenback was mixed against other Asia-Pacific currencies. It rose to SG$1.2672 from SG$1.2647 and to 1,058.50 South Korean won from 1,056.80 won on Monday. It gained to 44.71 Philippine pesos from 44.57 pesos but eased to 61.51 Indian rupees from 61.54 rupees, to 32.86 Thai baht from 33.03 baht and to 11,990 Indonesian rupiah from 12,043 rupiah. The Australian dollar edged up to 90.36 U.S. cents from 90.31 cents, while the Chinese yuan was at 17.11 yen against 17.12 yen.