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US dollar down in Asian trade

SINGAPORE--The U.S. dollar eased against the yen and other Asian currencies in thin Asian trade Tuesday as investors stood on the sidelines with few leads on the last day of the year.

The greenback bought 105.04 yen in Singapore afternoon trade, down from 105.11 yen in New York and 105.41 earlier Monday — its strongest since October 2008.

The euro fetched US$1.3794 from US$1.3800 in U.S. trade, and eased to 144.83 yen from 145.05 yen.

Financial markets in Tokyo, Manila, Seoul, Bangkok and Jakarta were closed for public holidays.

“There is very little propping up up the market at the moment, especially with Japan closed. Investors are taking up offsetting positions,” Desmond Chua, market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore, told AFP. Chua said a U.S. consumer confidence report to be released later Tuesday will be in focus when markets in New York open for a full-day session before the New Year's Day holiday.

The dollar had slipped against the euro and other major currencies Monday after data showed U.S. pending home sales rose 0.2 percent in November, the first rise in five months but below the 1.5 percent increase projected by analysts.

The dollar Tuesday dipped to SG$1.2654 from SG$1.2840 in Tokyo on Monday, and to 1,049.80 South Korean won from 1,055.67 won.

It fell to 61.86 Indian rupees from 61.95 rupees, to 12,170 Indonesian rupiah from 12,278 rupiah, and to 32.79 Thai baht from 32.94. It fetched 44.40 Philippine pesos from 44.39 pesos.

The Australian dollar rose to 89.36 U.S. cents from 88.60 cents. The Chinese yuan was flat at 17.36 yen.

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