Dollar holds steady in Asia on Crimea optimism
AFP March 25, 2014, 12:18 am TWN
TOKYO--The dollar held steady Monday following a surge last week on comments from Federal Reserve head Janet Yellen as Tokyo shares rebounded from a six-week low.
In afternoon trading, the greenback fetched 102.43 yen, rising from 102.23 yen in New York Friday.
The euro was mixed, buying US$1.3800 and 141.37 yen, compared with US$1.3794 and 141.87 yen.
Tokyo's Nikkei 225 stock index, which finished up 1.77 percent, was lifted by the yen's weakening against the dollar, boosting exporters.
Last week the greenback rose after Yellen said the central bank may raise its ultra-low interest rates around six months after winding up its asset-purchase stimulus, expected by the end of the year.
The yen slipped on cautious optimism that tensions between Russia and the West over Crimea have already spiked.
President Vladimir Putin formally made Crimea part of Russia on Friday, but the Kremlin also sent contradictory signals on whether it would retaliate against the West for sanctions over the move.
Officials from the Group of Seven leading nations will meet in the Hague on Monday to discuss Russia's recent moves.
Forex traders were also watching Chinese data as fresh figures said manufacturing activity contracted in March to its weakest rate in eight months.
HSBC's preliminary purchasing managers index (PMI), which tracks manufacturing activity in China's factories and workshops, fell to 48.1 from a final reading of 48.5 in February.
A reading above 50 indicates growth, while anything below signals contraction. But investors took the latest Chinese figures in their stride.
Against other Asia-Pacific currencies the dollar was generally weaker.
It eased to 60.70 Indian rupees from 61.05 rupees on Friday, to 11,380 Indonesian rupiah from 11,446 rupiah, to 45.18 Philippine pesos from 45.25 pesos and to 1,078.50 South Korean won from 1,080.85 won.
The greenback also dropped to SG$1.2718 from SG$1.2770, but edged up to 32.44 Thai baht from 32.42 baht.
The Australian dollar firmed up to 90.85 US cents from 90.68 cents.
The Chinese yuan fetched 16.46 yen against 16.44 yen on Friday.
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