Greenback under pressure in Asian trade after weak US economic data


TOKYO–The dollar struggled against the yen in Asia on Thursday after tumbling in New York trade in response to a weak batch of U.S. data that has sparked fears about the world’s number one economy. In the afternoon Tokyo trade, the dollar bought 106.19 yen, up from 105.91 yen in New York, but sharply lower than 107.33 yen in Tokyo earlier Wednesday.

At the start of the month, the greenback broke 110 yen for the first time in six years. The euro was at US$1.2800 against US$1.2834 in New York but still much stronger than US$1.2702 earlier Wednesday in Tokyo. The single currency was flat at 135.95 yen from 135.94 yen in U.S. trade. The U.S. Commerce Department said retail sales fell in September for the first time in seven months, while the Labor Department said U.S. producer prices fell last month for the first time since August 2013. Analysts had expected a rise. The news led to fears that the US economy, which has been showing strong signs of recovery this year, may be feeling the effects of a struggling eurozone, a slowdown in China and stuttering Japanese growth. The weak figures dampened the likelihood of the Federal Reserve lifting interest rates from record lows any time soon, putting further downward pressure on the dollar. Fears about the spread of the Ebola virus in the United States also hit sentiment. The dollar was mixed against other Asia-Pacific currencies. It weakened to 44.81 Philippine pesos from 44.89 pesos on Wednesday, to 32.43 Thai baht from 32.53 baht, to SG$1.2714 from SG$1.2768. It also fell to 1,061.11 South Korean won from 1,064.20 won, while it strengthened to 61.56 Indian rupees from 61.42 rupees and to 12,231.30 Indonesian rupiah from 12,225.00 rupiah.

The Australian dollar rose to 87.90 U.S. cents from 87.26 cents while the Chinese yuan fell to 17.33 yen from 17.48 yen.