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September 22, 2017

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Dollar under pressure in Asia after mixed data

TOKYO--The dollar slipped in Asia Monday following mixed U.S. data and simmering geopolitical concerns, while the Indian rupee sat close to one-year highs after the pro-business opposition won the country's general election.

In afternoon Tokyo trading, the greenback fetched 101.43 yen, against 101.54 yen in New York Friday afternoon.

The euro rose to US$1.3700 from US$1.3695 while changing hands at 138.98 yen against 139.08 yen.

The greenback was also worth 58.40 rupees — levels not seen since June — after falling more than one percent on Friday as Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stormed to power at the end of a marathon election.

The prime minister-elect summoned senior figures from the Hindu nationalist party on Sunday for talks on forming a new government, which won a strong mandate on promises to introduce reforms to turn around the economy.

Investors were skittish over the simmering Ukraine crisis and growing anti-Chinese unrest in Vietnam, while data out of the United States gave a mixed picture on the world's number one economy.

That boosted buying of the yen, seen as a safe haven during times of uncertainty or turmoil.

"The yen has been in demand, mainly due to unstable risk sentiment and falling expectations of the Bank of Japan considering a more aggressive monetary policy stance anytime soon," Credit Agricole said.

On Friday, data showed U.S. housing starts jumped a stronger-than-expected 13.2 percent in April, although the jump was driven by construction in the often-volatile multi-unit sector, while consumer confidence weakened.

The dollar was mostly lower against other Asia-Pacific currencies. It fell to 11,358.80 Indonesian rupiah from 11,401.80 rupiah on Friday, and to 1,022.53 South Korean won from 1,025.16 won.

The U.S. unit also dropped to SG$1.2510 from SG$1.2520, to 43.62 Philippine pesos from 43.75 pesos and to 32.47 Thai baht from 32.48 baht.

The Australian dollar was unchanged at 93.53 U.S. cents while the Chinese yuan slipped to 16.23 yen from 16.26 yen.

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