Greenback holds steady in Asian markets


SINGAPORE–The greenback held steady in thin Asian trade Tuesday, supported by hopes for fresh upbeat figures on the U.S. economy and expectations the Federal Reserve will hike rates in mid-2015.

The U.S. dollar was at 120.14 yen in afternoon Singapore trade, up slightly from 120.07 yen in New York on Monday. The euro bought US$1.2230 and 146.92 yen, against US$1.2226 and 146.80 yen in U.S. trade. ��The focus of today would likely come from U.S. durable orders and U.S. GDP figures,�� Singapore-based Phillip Futures said in a note to investors.

The commerce department’s release of the latest gross domestic figures (GDP) for the world’s top economy later Tuesday will be closely watched by the market, analysts said.

Economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal predicted the U.S. economy grew at a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.3 percent in the July-September quarter, up from its previous estimate of 3.9 percent.

Also being released in the U.S. Tuesday is data on new home sales, personal consumption as well as a survey of consumer confidence by the University of Michigan.

Analysts said trading volumes were thin in Asia, with many dealers away during the holiday season and Japanese markets closed for a public holiday.

The greenback is expected to remain well-supported against other major currencies after the U.S. Federal Reserve last week left in place market expectations that it may raise interest rates in the middle of next year.

The dollar was higher against Asia-Pacific currencies.

It rose to 12,463.80 Indonesian rupiah from 12,452.50 rupiah on Monday, to 1,103.17 South Korean won from 1,096.46 won, and to 44.64 Philippine pesos from 44.60 pesos.

It firmed to SG$1.3226 from SG$1.3181, to 63.42 Indian rupees from 63.19 rupees, and to 32.93 Thai baht from 32.86 baht. The Australian dollar bought 81.06 U.S. cents from 81.57 cents, while the Chinese yuan rose to 19.30 yen from 19.20 yen.