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Dollar edges up in Asia, eyes on Japan growth

TOKYO: The dollar edged up in Asian afternoon trade on Tuesday, climbing back above 115 yen with investors looking ahead to the release next week of Japanese third-quarter economic growth data.

In Tokyo, the greenback firmed to 115.22 yen, after slipping to 114.71 yen in earlier trade from 114.83 yen in New York. The dollar was at 114.16 yen in Tokyo earlier Monday.

The euro was almost flat at $1.2422 compared with $1.2420, while it firmed to 143.11 yen from 142.62 yen in US trade.

“What the market is indicating is extremely rangebound trade,” Toshihiko Sakai, senior manager of forex and financial products trading at Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corp., told Dow Jones Newswires.

The greenback has surged against the yen since the BoJ on October 31 said it would expand its already huge stimulus programme, which effectively prints more cash. The dollar bought 109.20 yen before the BoJ move.

The US unit eased Friday after a US jobs report that, although healthy, came in below expectations.

However, it picked up again Monday on renewed bets that the US economy will continue to strengthen faster than other major economies.

Focus has now shifted to whether Tokyo will hike its sales tax again next year, with press reports saying a planned increase may be put off as consumer spending remains lacklustre following a rise in April.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may call snap elections in December, seeking a renewed mandate if he decides to put off the second tax hike, reports said.

Abe has said he will make a decision after seeing fresh economic data, most notably July-September gross domestic product data due out Monday.

Japan’s GDP shrank 1.8 percent in April-June, or a 7.1 percent contraction at an annualised rate, the worst showing since the 2011 Fukushima quake-tsunami disaster.

The dollar mostly firmed against other Asia-Pacific currencies.

It rose to Sg$1.2923 from Sg$1.2884 on Monday, to 1,091.00 South Korean won from 1,084.70 won and to 32.84 Thai baht from 32.74 baht.

The dollar also strengthened to 61.55 Indian rupees from 61.48 rupees, to 44.99 Philippine pesos from 44.88 pesos and to 12,193.00 Indonesian rupiah from 12,149.00 rupiah.

However, it slipped to Tw$30.54 from Tw$30.56.

The Australian dollar slipped to 86.29 US cents from 86.75 cents while the Chinese yuan was firmer at 18.82 yen against 18.67 yen.-AFP

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