TOKYO-The dollar edged up in Asian trade Friday after tumbling in New York on news that a Malaysia Airlines jet had crashed in Ukraine killing almost 300 people, with the U.S. saying it had been shot down. The Malaysian ringgit slipped against the greenback in response to the tragedy, the second to hit the troubled carrier since the disappearance of flight MH370 in March. In Tokyo afternoon trading, the dollar bought 101.32 yen, up from 101.17 yen in New York but well down from Tokyo levels around 101.50 yen Thursday. The dollar was also buying 3.189 ringgit, after hitting 3.196 ringgit earlier in the session, against 3.175 ringgit on Thursday. The euro slipped US$1.3522, against US$1.3525 in U.S. trade, while it rose to 137.00 yen from 136.83 yen — but was still off 137.29 yen Thursday in Asia. Traders tend to flock to the yen in times of uncertainty, but the currency’s brief uptick following the crash was short lived. “It’s hard to expect the (dollar-yen) pair will break below 101, once things calm down,” Toshiyuki Umekawa, senior president of Mizuho Bank’s forex division, told Dow Jones Newswires.
Adding to the selling pressure was news that Israel had launched a ground operation in the Gaza Strip on the tenth day of an offensive to stamp out rocket fire from the Hamas-run enclave, which has claimed 248 lives. The dollar was mostly higher against other Asia-Pacific currencies. It firmed to SG$1.2420 from SG$1.2416 on Thursday, to 60.35 Indian rupees from 60.16 rupees, to 43.60 Philippine pesos from 43.56 pesos, to 11,687.50 Indonesian rupiah from 11,662.50 rupiah, and to 32.19 Thai baht from 32.16 baht. The greenback slipped to 1,030.85 South Korean won from 1,031.10 won The Australian dollar edged lower to 93.62 U.S. cents from 93.65 cents, while the Chinese yuan slipped to 16.30 yen from 16.33 yen.