TOKYO — The yen edged higher in Asia on Friday as ongoing worries about the global economy offset a positive batch of data out of the United States. In Tokyo afternoon trading, the dollar slipped to 106.16 yen from 106.33 yen in New York while the euro eased to 135.92 yen from 136.19 yen. The single currency also eased to US$1.2802 from US$1.2809. After equity markets were hammered this week by growing fears over the global economy, the U.S. Department of Labor offered a ray of hope on Thursday as it reported that jobless claims for the week ending October 11 fell to their lowest level since 2000.
Investors tend to flock to the yen during times of uncertainty and turmoil because it’s perceived as a safe asset. The dollar has fallen in value against the yen and the euro since the Fed earlier this month indicated it will likely refrain from hiking interest rates soon owing to worries about overseas economies. The euro slipped on renewed concerns about Greece after the government hinted that it might exit a four-year-old bailout early as it looks to free itself of strict controls attached to it. Analysts have said investors fear Athens will not be able to stand on its own two feet if it goes ahead with the plan, with the country’s main stock market plunging and borrowing costs rising. The dollar was mostly stronger against other Asia-Pacific currencies. It rose to 44.95 Philippine pesos from 44.81 pesos Thursday, to 32.45 Thai baht from 32.43 baht, to SG$1.2736 from SG$1.2714. It also strengthened to 1,064.09 South Korean won from 1,061.11 won and to 61.62 Indian rupees from 61.56 rupees. The dollar slipped to 12,137.50 Indonesian rupiah from 12,231.30 rupiah. The Australian dollar dropped to 87.50 U.S. cents from 87.90 cents while the Chinese yuan edged lower to 17.31 yen from 17.33 yen.