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Dollar steady on upbeat US economy view

TOKYO--The dollar held firm in Asia Tuesday after solid retail sales data boosted confidence in the U.S. economy while tensions in Ukraine and speculation over more European Central Bank monetary easing weighed on the euro.

In afternoon Tokyo trade, the greenback fetched 101.92 yen, up from 101.82 yen in New York Monday afternoon.

The euro fetched US$1.3816 and 140.82 yen, little changed from US$1.3820 and 140.74 yen in U.S. trade.

Against other Asia-Pacific currencies, the dollar rose to SG$1.2537 Tuesday afternoon from SG$1.2507 on Monday, to 1,042.00 South Korean won from 1,038.75 won and to NT$30.21 from NT$30.16.

The greenback also firmed to 44.56 Philippine pesos from 44.37 pesos, to 11,437.50 Indonesian rupiah from 11,425.00 rupiah, to 32.30 Thai baht from 32.29 baht, and to 60.31 Indian rupees from 60.17 rupees.

The Australian dollar weakened to 93.95 U.S. cents from 93.98 cents while the Chinese yuan fetched 16.37 yen against 16.32 yen.

U.S. stock prices jumped on Monday thanks to a better-than-expected earnings report from Citigroup and encouraging retail sales data.

The figures showed retail sales rose 1.1 percent on-month in March, supplying further evidence of stronger economic activity after a particularly brutal winter.

“This is shifting expectations for a spring pickup in the U.S. data,” National Australia Bank (NAB) said.

“This is one of the necessary but not sufficient conditions for a U.S. dollar rally. More on that when Fed chair (Janet) Yellen speaks tonight but more likely on Wednesday when she speaks to the Economic Club of New York.” it added.

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