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US dollar slips in Asia amid upbeat data

TOKYO--The U.S. dollar drifted lower in Asia on Friday as weak inflation figures and disappointing U.S. corporate results dampened investor sentiment, while the euro was also under pressure on deflation fears.

The greenback bought 104.34 yen in afternoon Tokyo trade, down from 104.37 yen in New York Thursday, and after a Japanese government report described Asia's number-two economy as “recovering” for the first time in six years.

The euro weakened to 142.08 yen from 142.11 yen while it fetched US$1.3614 compared with US$1.3615 in U.S. trade.

Wall Street was spooked by poor earnings from a number of big firms. Electronics retailer Best Buy plunged 28.6 percent after saying November-December same-store sales were lower than the previous year's holiday season.

Citigroup also took a hit with below-forecast earnings while chip giant Intel sank in after-market trade as it said net profit last year fell 13 percent

However, the dollar won a measure of support from a stronger-than-expected rise in the Philadelphia Fed's index of manufacturing activity.

The euro weakened after figures Thursday showed eurozone inflation slipped to 0.8 percent in December from 0.9 percent in November, adding to concerns that falling prices could undermine growth prospects.

“Such a low (inflation) level is a matter of concern,” Credit Agricole said.

“We stick to the notion that the (European Central Bank) is likely to consider additional policy action should inflation continue to fall.”

The greenback was mixed against other Asia-Pacific currencies.

It weakened to SG$1.2724 from SG$1.2737 on Thursday, to 1,061.19 South Korean won from 1,063.70 won, and to 61.41 Indian rupees from 61.62 rupees.

It also declined to 32.74 Thai baht from 32.90 baht while it rose to 45.08 Philippine pesos from 45.06 pesos and to 12,124 Indonesian rupiah from 12,120 rupiah.

The Australian dollar rebounded to 88.18 U.S. cents from 87.96 cents, a three-year low, while the Chinese yuan was at 17.23 yen against 17.28 yen.

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