May 12, 2016 - 9:00 PM EDT
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Dollar slips to upper 108 yen zone on languid Asian stocks

The U.S. dollar edged down to the upper 108 yen zone in Tokyo on Friday as sluggish Asian stocks quelled risk appetite while traders awaited U.S. data for fresh hints on the health of the world's largest economy.

At 5 p.m., the dollar fetched 108.78-80 yen compared with 108.95-109.05 yen in New York and 108.92-94 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m. Thursday. It moved between 108.53 yen and 109.13 yen during the day, changing hands most frequently at 108.80 yen.

The euro was quoted at $1.1343-1345 and 123.39-43 yen against $1.1373-1383 and 123.97-124.07 yen in New York and $1.1407-1408 and 124.25-29 yen in Tokyo late Thursday afternoon.

The dollar traded in the lower 109 yen zone early in the morning, retaining gains from New York overnight, where traders sold the safe-haven yen in favor of the U.S. currency as firmness in U.S. stock prices and crude oil futures spurred risk appetite.

Sluggishness across Asian stock markets then prompted renewed demand for the yen against a basket of currencies, said Shinichiro Kadota, foreign exchange strategist at Barclays Bank.

But the breadth of the dollar's decline was limited, with traders wary of making bold moves ahead of April U.S. retail sales data due later in the day that could decide the U.S. currency's course in the coming week, Kadota said.

"After March's soft figure, a strong rebound in retail sales in April could brighten the outlook on the U.S. economy and give a boost to the dollar, while a weak figure is likely to drive it downward against the yen," he said.

Boston Federal Reserve President Eric Rosengren, who holds the right to vote on Fed policy this year, made comments overnight suggesting the U.S. central bank could raise interest rates more rapidly than market participants currently expect.

"Rosengren's optimistic comments are a supportive factor for the dollar, but traders will need to see that such sentiment is actually shown in U.S. data before they can push the dollar above levels in the mid-109 yen zone that have acted as a ceiling in recent weeks," said Yuzo Sakai, manager of foreign exchange business promotion at Tokyo Forex & Ueda Harlow.

The euro moved narrowly against the dollar, while declining against the yen throughout the day amid broad demand for the Japanese currency.


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Source: News (May 12, 2016 - 9:00 PM EDT)

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