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Dollar ticks up in Asia after several days of losses


american dollarThe dollar ticked up against the yen and euro on Friday after days of losses linked to weak US data that have weighed on hopes for an imminent Federal Reserve rate hike.

In Tokyo, the greenback rose to 119.53 yen from 119.19 yen in New York, while the euro weakened to $1.1387 from $1.1414.

The common currency also slipped to 136.08 yen from 136.16 yen in US trade, but it was supported by bright eurozone economic growth data.

On Thursday, US producer price index fell 0.4 percent last month more than wiped out March’s first increase since October and fell well short of forecasts for a 0.2 percent rise. That came a day after news that retail sales saw their weakest year-on-year growth since 2009.

The results follow other poor recent indicators — including anaemic wage growth, a tepid manufacturing sector and weak economic growth — that have thrown cold water on hopes that the Fed will raise interest rates soon.

“We remain constructive on the US dollar but accept there is no near-term catalyst for recovery,” BNP Paribas said in a report.

The euro, meanwhile, has been buoyed this week by news the eurozone economy met expectations and grew 0.4 percent quarter-on-quarter in January-March, up from 0.3 percent in the previous three months.

However, market-watchers remain nervous about cash-strapped Greece’s plodding talks with creditors on overhauling its bailout.

In Tokyo, Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda, ina speech Friday cast doubt on the chances of an imminent expansion to the BoJ’s huge monetary easing plan.

Speculation has been rising that a weak economy including tepid inflation would force policymakers to further ease policy, with the latest data showing consumer confidence remained weak in April.

“I don’t think we need additional easing at this point,” Kuroda said, adding that “price trends are steadily improving and that is expected to continue”.

Kuroda has acknowledged the challenges of hitting a 2.0 percent inflation target. His original timeline saw the goal reachable in about two years after the easing scheme was launched in April 2013.

On Friday, Kuroda again rolled back expectations, saying there needed to some “leeway” in reaching the target, and he called on Tokyo to follow through on promises to overhaul Japan’s highly regulated economy, which he sees as key to kickstarting the economy and driving up prices.

In other trading, the dollar was little changed against other Asia-Pacific currencies.

It slipped to 44.51 Philippine pesos from 44.54 pesos on Thursday, to 13,069.00 Indonesian rupiah from 13,070.00 rupiah, to Tw$30.44 from Tw$30.54, to 1,086.57 South Korean won from 1,091.95 won, and to 63.51 Indian rupees from 63.85 rupees.

The greenback edged up to 33.59 Thai baht from 33.37 baht and to Sg$1.3218 from Sg$1.3216.

The Australian dollar fell to 80.56 US cents from 81.35 cents while the Chinese yuan inched up to 19.23 yen from 19.20 yen.

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