Euro, dollar hold steady against yen

TOKYO- The euro was steady in Asia on Friday, holding on to its gains in New York after a survey of German business confidence beat forecasts, while the dollar was largely unchanged against the yen.

The single currency bought $1.3831 and 141.52 yen in afternoon trade, hardly changed from $1.3830 and 141.53 yen in New York. The dollar was at 102.32 yen, the same rate as in US trade.

The Ifo economic institute’s closely watched German business climate index rose to 111.2 points in April from 110.7 in March, when it had seen a small dip. Analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires had predicted a decline to 110.5 points.

The news, together with upbeat bond sales and economic data out of Spain and Portugal, added to a growing sense that the eurozone is recovering from the debt turmoil of two years ago.

The dollar was largely flat against the yen after giving up gains on data showing Japanese inflation at 1.3 percent year-on-year in March, marking a 10th consecutive rise in prices.

Although the latest figure could put pressure on the central bank to ease monetary policy to achieve its target of 2.0 percent inflation next year, traders are not expecting any movement soon, said Daisaku Ueno, chief foreign strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

“The initial reaction was only moderate,” reflecting investors’ awareness it is premature to expect a central bank decision based on a single month alone, he said.

He added that upbeat US economic data supported the greenback despite tensions in the Ukraine, which would normally lift the yen — a safe investment in times of uncertainty.

The dollar was mixed against other Asia-Pacific currencies.

The dollar edged up to 44.68 Philippine pesos from 44.66 pesos on Thursday, to Sg$1.2580 from Sg$1.2569, and to 1,040.75 South Korean won from 1,039.25 won.

The greenback fell to 11,585 Indonesian rupiah from 11,625.00 while staying flat at Tw$30.30 and 32.34 Thai baht.

The Australian dollar inched down to 92.79 US cents from 92.91 cents, while the Chinese yuan slipped to 16.34 yen from 16.40 yen.