Dollar mixed in Asia after upbeat US data


TOKYO–The dollar was mixed in Asia Monday following broadly upbeat U.S. economic data, while the yen was lifted by speculation the Bank of Japan’s policy board will hold off any new stimulus measures when it meets this week. The greenback bought 104.08 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade, slipping from 104.30 yen on Friday in New York, while the euro weakened to US$1.3530 and 140.84 yen compared with US$1.3535 and 141.17 yen. Official figures released in Washington on Friday showed U.S. factory output rose 0.3 percent last month, extending its streak of gains since July. In addition, housing starts fell in December from November’s five-year high, but the drop was not as much as forecast while the pace of home building remained strong. Investors will be looking for further evidence of the state of the U.S. economy as the Federal Reserve prepares for its next policy meeting next week. Eyes this week are on the Bank of Japan’s next policy board meeting, which wraps up on Wednesday, with expectations it will hold steady on new measures — a positive for the yen — until it can gauge the effect of an April sales tax rise.

“Although we keep an overall bearish stance regarding the yen, we do not exclude additional short-term correction risk,” Credit Agricole said. “This is mainly due to a falling probability of the BoJ considering more aggressive policy action.” The greenback was mostly stronger against other Asia-Pacific currencies. It firmed to SG$1.2769 from SG$1.2724 on Friday, to 1,063.14 South Korean won from 1,061.19 won, and to 61.62 Indian rupees from 61.41 rupees. It also rose to 32.88 Thai baht from 32.74 baht, and to 45.12 Philippine pesos from 45.08 pesos while the dollar slipped to 12,120 Indonesian rupiah from 12,124 rupiah. The Australian dollar was hovering around three-year lows, changing hands at 87.77 U.S. cents against 88.18 cents.

The Chinese yuan bought 17.17 yen from 17.23 yen.