Greenback flat following disappointing US data
The U.S. dollar was flat against the yen on Friday after weak data muddied the waters over the timing of a U.S. interest rate hike, while the euro struggled on concerns about cash-strapped Greece.
In Tokyo, the greenback was quoted at 119.56 yen, slightly up from 119.55 yen in New York but well below the 120.10 yen touched earlier Thursday.
The euro was trading in narrow range after it strengthened ahead of a eurozone finance ministers meeting as Greece seeks to strike a deal with its international credi- tors to avert a default.
The single currency bought US$1.0790 and 129.01 yen, down from US$1.0823 and 129.39 yen in U.S. trade.
The Federal Reserve has ruled out raising interest rates when it meets next week, but policymakers have left the door open to a move in June, largely depending on the state of the world’s top economy.
Official data Thursday showed fresh claims for U.S. unemployment insurance benefits edged up marginally, while sales of new homes plunged in March after a sharp rise in February.
“Since the Fed is data-dependent, markets will react positively to good news and negatively to bad,” said Kazuo Shirai, a U.S.-based trader at MUFG Union Bank.
Offering up a measure of support for the euro, a poll on Thursday showed consumer confidence in Germany — Europe’s biggest economy — was at its highest since late 2001, as low inflation buoys households’ income expectations. However, there were signs of concern about the constant tug-of-war over Greece.
With Greek government coffers rapidly emptying, analysts warn Ath- ens may have only weeks left before defaulting and possibly exiting the eurozone unless it reaches a deal with its creditors to unlock 7.2 billion euros in remaining bailout loans.
The dollar was mixed against other Asia-Pacific currencies.
It strengthened to 32.49 Thai baht from 32.41 baht on Thursday, to 12,942.50 Indonesian rupiah from 12,930.00 rupiah, and to 63.38 Indian rupees from 62.92 rupees.
It slipped to 44.24 Philippine pesos from 44.25 pesos, to 1,080.35 South Korean won from 1,080.55 won, and to SG$ 1.3405 from SG$1.3456.