TOKYO- The dollar clawed its way up in Asian trade Wednesday as upbeat US data outweighed concerns over possible military action in Syria.
The greenback fetched 99.76 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade against 99.54 yen Tuesday in New York, where the US unit rose to a one-month high close to 100 yen.
“The bias is on the upside, but there are selling orders below 100 yen acting as resistance,” Kengo Suzuki, forex strategist at Mizuho Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires.
The euro bought $1.3165 and 131.25 yen compared with $1.3170 and 131.14 yen in US trade.
Fresh numbers from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) on Tuesday showed the US manufacturing sector expanded at its fastest pace in more than two years in August.
It suggested the economy may be strong enough for the Federal Reserve to begin scaling back its bond-buying programme, known as quantitative easing (QE), as early as this month.
“At the margin it strengthened the case for the Fed to begin tapering QE at the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) meeting in a fortnight, but the key focus is still on Friday’s payrolls data,” said National Australia Bank.
The bank also noted “the markets’ mood overnight changed after US House Speaker John Boehner and majority leader Eric Cantor announced that they supported Obama’s call for a US-led strike on Syria”.
The decision by the Republican leader and his right-hand man Cantor represented a rare gesture of unity in deeply divided Washington, and left aides of President Barack Obama increasingly hopeful of securing a vote for action in Congress next week.
“The dollar was launched to almost 100.00 yen following the ISM data release, but the associated rise in general risk aversion after Boehner’s comments buoyed the Japanese yen,” the bank said.
The Bank of Japan is holding a two-day policy meeting to Thursday but is widely expected to hold off new easing measures.
The dollar was higher against most other Asian currencies.
The US unit rose to 67.75 Indian rupees from 66.77 Tuesday afternoon, to 11,395 Indonesian rupiah from 11,035 rupiah, to Sg$1.2769 from Sg$1.2722and to 44.60 Philippine pesos from 44.30 pesos.
The greenback inched up to 1,098 South Korean won from 1,095 won, to Tw$29.79 from Tw$29.75 and to 32.25 Thai baht from 32.01 baht.
The Australian dollar rose to 90.92 US cents from 90.36 cents as data showed Wednesday Australia’s economy expanded a steady 0.6 percent in April-June from the previous quarter.
The Chinese yuan rose to 16.27 yen from 16.22 yen.