Dollar holds steady in Asia

TOKYO- The dollar held steady against the yen in Asia on Wednesday after enjoying a pick-up in New York thanks to an upbeat batch of US data and a record close for the S&P 500 stock index.

The euro also remained under pressure as investors back the European Central Bank to announce fresh measures to fight of deflation fears in the eurozone.

The dollar bought 101.94 yen in Tokyo midday trade compared with 101.96 yen in New York Tuesday afternoon. The European single currency fetched $1.3632, against 1.3634 and 138.95 compared with 139.03 yen.

US shares and the greenback ticked higher on Tuesday on Wall Street as dealers returned after the Memorial Day long weekend.

Fresh data showed a rise in consumer confidence for May, a surprising increase in durable goods orders for April and a pick-up in home prices for March on the widely watched S&P/Case-Shiller index.

The news boosted appetite for higher risk assets, sending New York’s three main indexes higher, with the S&P 500 setting a new high after breaking the 1,900 barrier for the first time on Friday.

The greenback was also supported by demand from Japan importers, analysts said, while attention turns to the Bank of Japan’s next policy meeting, with speculation growing that it could tinker with its monetary policy to boost the economy.

Osao Iizuka, head of FX trading at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, said the may hover around its current level but may favour the upside if it makes any major moves.

The euro has been on a downward trend for three weeks on expectations the ECB will loosen monetary policy when its board meets next on June 5.

Earlier this month the ECB head Mario Draghi indicated it was ready to unveil new measures to kickstart the economy and fan inflation, which is sitting well below the bank’s 2.0 percent target.