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Awaiting US data, dollar weakens against yen, euro in Asia markets

TOKYO--The dollar weakened against the yen and euro in Asia Thursday as markets await the release of U.S. indicators later in the day, including revised first-quarter U.S. economic growth.

In afternoon Tokyo trading, the greenback eased to 101.68 yen from 101.84 yen late in New York and well off the levels close to 102 yen earlier Wednesday in Asia.

The euro ticked up to US$1.3606 from US$1.3590 in U.S. trade but it slipped to 138.37 yen from 138.40 yen, as investors bet on fresh easing measures by the European Central Bank (ECB) at its policy meeting next week.

“Today, the focus will be on the U.S. jobless claims numbers and the annualized U.S. (quarter-on-quarter) GDP growth,” Credit Agricole said.

It added that while the jobless claim numbers are likely to improve an expected downward revision of economic growth will dampen the market mood.

Expectations are high that the ECB will announce new measures to combat tepid price rises, with its head Mario Draghi hinting at possible new policy moves as the bank struggles to prevent deflation in the eurozone.

“A full week out from the ECB meeting and participants are already playing a game of 'what will they do' in earnest,” National Australia Bank said.

“This is influencing the mood across many markets, not just Europe.”

Investors were also digesting a 13.7 percent drop in Japanese retail sales in April, underlining the impact of the country's first consumption tax rise in 17 years.

Tokyo raised the levy to 8.0 percent from 5.0 percent on April 1 as it looks to reduce its massive public debt burden. But there are fears the hike will hit consumer spending and dent a recovery in the wider economy.

The dollar was mixed against other Asia-Pacific currencies.

It weakened to 58.80 Indian rupees from 59.04 rupees on Wednesday, to 1,021.32 South Korean won from 1,021.55 won.

It strengthened to 43.98 Philippine pesos from 43.90 pesos, to 32.75 Thai baht from 32.66 baht, to 11,632.50 Indonesian rupiah from 11,610.80 rupiah, and to SG$1.2550 against SG$1.2549.

The Australian dollar rose to 92.76 U.S. cents from 92.63 cents, while the Chinese yuan edged down to 16.21 yen from 16.26 yen.

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