Dollar slips further in Asia after US data

TOKYO- The dollar lost more ground in Asia on Thursday after tumbling in New York following weak US and European data that led to renewed concerns about the global economy.

In Tokyo the greenback slipped to 108.75 yen, from 108.91 yen in New York, where it sank from levels above 110 yen seen earlier Wednesday — the first time it has breached the mark in six years.

The euro strengthened to $1.2656 from $1.2624, and to 137.63 yen against 137.48 yen ahead of a European Central Bank Meeting (ECB) later in the day.

The US Commerce Department said Wednesday that construction spending in August fell unexpectedly, while a separate report showed manufacturing activity slowed in September.

The disappointing figures overshadowed news that US private-sector employment increased last month.

Investors were now turning their focus to Friday’s US non-farm payrolls report, which is used as a barometer of the health of the world’s number one economy.

A strong result could be seen as giving the Federal Reserve more room to increase interest rates sooner than its mid-2015 forecast, which would be a plus for the dollar.

Investors’ move out of the dollar into assets seen as less risky, such as the yen, follow news of the first confirmed Ebola case in the United States and a pro-democracy campaign in Hong Kong.

Protest leaders have called for the leader of the Asian financial hub to stand down by the end of the day or they will step up their demonstration, which has been peaceful so far.

In Europe, a survey of leading indicators from eurozone manufacturing industries on business conditions saw the lowest reading in 14 months.

Earlier in the week data showed eurozone inflation hit its lowest level in five years, fanning deflation fears and raising speculation over fresh ECB easing measures.

The central bank is not expected to alter its monetary policy Thursday, but analysts will be looking for any hints at further action in future.