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Greenback firms in Asia amid lackluster trade

TOKYO--The dollar firmed against major currencies in Asian trade on Wednesday, but its movement was limited because many traders were off for the summer holiday season.

The dollar fetched 102.28 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade compared with 102.24 yen in New York.

The euro bought US$1.3364 and 136.69 yen against US$1.3368 and 136.67 yen.

Minutes before the opening bell, the Japanese government announced that the world's number three economy shrank by 1.7 percent quarter-on-quarter in the April-June period as a sales tax rise dented activity.

But the market lacked direction, with many participants away during the summer holiday season.

Market players were instead eyeing China's retail sales and industrial production data for July, which will be followed later in the day by U.S. retail sales data.

China's industrial production, which measures output at factories, workshops and mines in the world's second-largest economy, rose 9.0 percent year-on-year in July, the government said.

Retail sales increased 12.2 percent in the same month, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

In New York on Tuesday, the euro weakened against the dollar following a plunge in investor confidence to a 20-month low in Germany, Europe's largest economy.

The ZEW research institute's indicator of economic sentiment in Germany dived 18.5 points to 8.6 points in August, its lowest level since December 2012. Analysts had expected only a minor fall.

The dollar was mixed against other Asia-Pacific currencies.

It edged down to SG$1.2502 on Wednesday from SG$1.2503 the previous day, and to 31.96 Thai baht from 32.08 baht.

The greenback rose to 11,695.00 Indonesian rupiah from 11,681.30 rupiah, to 61.24 Indian rupees from 61.12 rupees, to 1,028.81 South Korean won from 1,027.15 won, and to 43.97 Philippine pesos from 43.86 pesos.

The Australian dollar rose to 92.93 U.S. cents from 92.61 cents, while the Chinese yuan eased to 16.60 yen against 16.61 yen.

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