TOKYO- The dollar rallied against the yen in Asia Friday as investors digested mixed US data, while weak eurozone manufacturing pressured the euro.
In midday Tokyo trade, the greenback fetched 102.47 yen, from 102.32 yen in New York Thursday.
The euro also rose to 140.55 yen against 140.37 yen, while it was nearly flat at $1.3719 against $1.3718 in US trade, after a key measure of euro-zone business activity weakened slightly.
The Market Economics euro-zone purchasing managers index for February fell to 52.7 points from 52.9 in January, against expectations of a slight increase.
“It suggests that the euro-zone recovery lost a little traction in February, although the services data were slightly better,” National Australia Bank said.
On Wall Street, investors took comfort from gains in Markit’s US purchasing managers index, while new jobless claims fell last week, although not as much as expected.
The data offered some good news after new US home construction and building permits plunged more than expected in January amid severe winter weather in large parts of the country.
“It seems the market, at least for now, is not too concerned about the recent run of disappointing US releases especially given the element of bad weather, though one might start to wonder whether this will remain true if more tier-1 data goes in this direction,” Credit Agricole said.
On Thursday, traders moved into the safe-haven yen as Japan posted its worst-ever January trade deficit, while a key index of Chinese manufacturing contracted in February to its lowest level in seven months, a worrying sign for the strength of the world’s second-largest economy
Minutes from the Bank of Japan’s last meeting, published Friday, showed policymakers were still upbeat on a recovery in the US economy as the Federal Reserve cuts back on its stimulus drive, but feared the volatility in emerging markets.
IMF chief Christine Lagarde and British finance minister George Osborne on Thursday demanded emerging economies get their houses in order, after some attacked US monetary policy in the run-up to G20 talks this weekend in Sydney.
New Fed chief Janet Yellen was likely to face a grilling at the G20 over the impact on emerging economies and fears of capital flight from the Fed’s move to taper its huge monetary easing scheme.
Currencies from Argentina to Russia, South Africa and Turkey have been in free fall, in part because heavyweight US investors are repatriating funds in anticipation of higher returns at home as the Fed tightens years of relaxed monetary policy.