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Greenback firms ahead of US jobs data

TOKYO--The greenback bought 101.61 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade, compared with 101.49 yen in New York Wednesday afternoon.

The euro also drifted to US$1.3520 from US$1.3536 as investors weigh the likelihood of an ECB interest rate cut later Thursday to boost eurozone growth. Against the Japanese currency, the euro stayed flat at 137.38 yen.

Kengo Suzuki, chief FX strategist at Mizuho Securities, said investors' risk appetite was recovering after heavy sell-offs in stock markets this week saw a surge yen, which is considered a safe haven in times of turmoil.

“Although the dollar hasn't set a clear direction ahead of U.S. jobs data on Friday, it appears to be regaining some stability,” Suzuki told Dow Jones Newswires.

The U.S. non-farm payrolls data for January will be closely watched after a weak U.S. manufacturing report triggered wider concerns about the global economy and helped send equity markets tumbling.

The data Friday will help markets gauge the state of the U.S. economy as the Federal Reserve winds down its stimulus program.

European data were mixed ahead of Thursday's ECB policy meeting. A report from Markit Economics on eurozone private sector business activity in January showed the seventh monthly rise in a row.

But separate figures showed retail sales in the currency bloc fell 1.6 percent in December.

The dollar was weaker against most other Asia-Pacific currencies.

The greenback sank to 12,173 Indonesian rupiah from 12,185 rupiah on Wednesday, to 62.45 Indian rupees from 62.59 rupees, to 1,076.60 South Korean won from 1,079.07 won.

It rose to 45.25 Philippine pesos from 42.35 pesos and to 32.81 Thai baht from 32.76 baht, while fetching SG$1.2692 against SG$1.2694.

The Australian dollar rose to 89.61 U.S. cents from 88.92 cents, while the Chinese yuan inched up to 16.73 yen from 16.50 yen.

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