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Greenback stuck in tight range ahead of US economic data

TOKYO--The dollar moved narrowly against the yen and euro in Asia on Friday as investors await U.S. jobs data later in the day for clues about the state of the world's largest economy.

The U.S. currency fetched 103.00 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade, slightly down from 103.08 yen in New York Thursday afternoon, but higher than the 102.72 yen in Tokyo earlier Thursday.

The euro, which gained Thursday on the European Central Bank's upbeat outlook on the eurozone economy, slipped to US$1.3856 and 142.72 yen from US$1.3861 and 142.88 yen.

The ECB on Thursday held its interest rates unchanged for the fourth month in a row, assessing that the nascent recovery in the bloc remains on track.

Most economic data released recently suggest that the specter of deflation — the destructive spiral of falling prices in which consumers put off purchases, thus destroying salaries, jobs and investment — is being kept at bay.

But investors were watching to see if policymakers would pull the trigger on further easing measures.

“Forex markets were more interested in what the ECB did with its growth and inflation forecasts,” rather than the Ukraine crisis, National Australia bank said in a note.

The dollar won support from data that showed jobless benefit claims fell last week to a three-month low, raising expectations for a strong monthly employment report later Friday.

The dollar was lower against other Asia-Pacific currencies.

It weakened to 11,415 Indonesian rupiah from 11,545 rupiah Thursday, to 61.02 Indian rupees from 61.75 rupees and to 44.46 Philippine pesos from 44.70 pesos.

The greenback also declined to 1,063.58 South Korean won from 1,066.45 won, to 32.28 Thai baht from 32.30 baht, and to SG$1.2643 from SG$1.2676.

The Australian dollar rose to 90.85 U.S. cents from 90.18 cents, while the Chinese yuan bought 16.84 yen against 16.76 yen.

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