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Euro recovers slightly in Asia despite investor woes

TOKYO--The euro was slightly firmer in Asia Wednesday after taking a hit from a drop in German investor confidence, which raised more questions about the state of the eurozone economy.

The single currency bought US$1.3717 in afternoon Tokyo trade, against US$1.3701 in New York where it had briefly fallen below the US$1.3700 level for the first time since late February.

It also fetched 140.14 yen, against 140.12 yen in New York, while the dollar dipped to 102.15 yen from 102.26 yen.

A survey Tuesday showed investment sentiment in Germany fell to the lowest level for nearly 18 months in May, adding to growing fears that Europe's top economy is losing momentum.

The widely watched ZEW institute investor confidence index fell for the fifth straight month, losing 10.1 points to 33.1, and will add to fresh speculation that the European Central Bank is ready to ease monetary policy soon.

“Pressure on the euro ... continues as the single currency lost more ground after reports that the Bundesbank is willing to support a range of easing measures in June depending on the updated staff forecasts that the ECB members will have in their June meeting,” Credit Agricole said.

The dollar was under pressure after U.S. data showed retail and food services sales rose a mere 0.1 percent in April, softer than the 0.3 percent gain expected by analysts. However, the March increase was upwardly revised to 1.5 percent from the prior estimate of 1.2 percent.

The dollar was also mostly lower against Asia-Pacific currencies other than the yen on Wednesday afternoon.

The greenback fell to SG$1.2494 from SG$1.2522, to 43.62 Philippine pesos from 43.79 pesos, to 11,470 Indonesian rupiah from 11,530 rupiah and to 32.49 Thai baht from 32.61 baht.

The greenback rises to 1,026.46 South Korean won from 1,022.93 won.

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